ALBUM: I BREAK HORSES – HEARTS
‘Hearts’ is the product of 2 years of refining and experimenting from the Swedish duo. The sound, which now cascades from my speakers like a pure, hot spring, wastes no time in elevating you to a lofty vantage point. Waves of reverb emerses you and the Cathedral-esque organs inspire while the light guitar adds sparkle.
I Break Horses are unashamedly influenced by My Bloody Valentine and the like. They are ‘Only Shallow’ with the grunge turned down. The albums intro makes you wonder if you’ve selected Interpol by mistake, until Maria Lindén’s warm voice breathes reassuringly over the frosty chords.
Fredrik Balck provides the lyrics and aids Maria in turning her compositions into a reality. I hear a happy medium between Sigur Ros and The Knife, or even a less sassy version of Death In Vegas’s ‘Help Yourself’. Where as Lamb are a struggle between dark and light, I Break Horses are a coming together of hot and cold.
The heartbeat provides the continuing theme and it’s never more apparent during ‘Wired’. The deep, pulsing beat drives spooky chords to greater heights while voices of spirits soar around you and the electrical sound of a speeding train drives you forward.
‘I Kill Your Love, Baby!’ follows with a deeper and slower heart rate, as if they’ve stopped to take a breather before a leisurely stroll in a picturesque landscape… and then ‘Pulse’ sees them break into a light jog.
‘Cancer’ starts in a somber mood, without a beat, before building momentum with louder and louder drumming and layered vocals, turning into something inspiring and optimistic until the gentle fade. Maria’s voice reminds me of Mazzy Star during ‘Into Dust’, but with a sunnier disposition.
‘Load Your Eyes’ starts like Interpol once more, the vocal descends steadily before showing signs of recovery and then the guitars and synth pick you up and raise your hands to the sky.
I’ve found it difficult not to sound over emotional when describing this album, but the high level of euphoria and complementary deep moments of contemplation, to me, completely deserve a bit of joyous grandstanding. Please don’t be mistaken into thinking this is, in any way, mainstream or corny. It’s more like a David Lynch than a Spielberg.
It is a beautiful, beautiful album. It takes on an epic subject and turns it into something which is on the surface very simple, but has great depth and is a pleasure to absorb. Returning for another listen felt like bumping into an old friend. I’ve found I only wish to experience Sigur Rós if it’s with accompanying visuals, but ‘Hearts’ provides the complete picture.
Release Date 22nd August 2011 on Bella Union
The title track Hearts can be downloaded for free via the player below