Swedish Duo I Break Horses (Maria Linden and Fredrik Balck) have
turned in a good set with 'Hearts', a nine track collection of
distinctive synth-pop which, an increasingly cluttered genre
notwithstanding, has enough of its own to say to deserve our attention.
There is a jumbled intensity in their vision. Mist-shrouded landscapes;
dense subterranean beats; half-heard ghostly vocals. Ms Linden's voice
is often buried so deep in the mix that the words are obscured but this
adds a satisfying sense of mystery and adventure to the proceedings.
The quasi-psychedelic noodlings of 'Wired' is a particularly good example.
Elsewhere, 'I Kill Love, Baby' demonstrates a greater capacity for restraint.
Initially barely breathing, the piece has an affecting hymn-like quality but
builds, layer-upon-layer, until Ms Linden's vocal entry gives the arrangement
clearer focus and definition. Although little more than a two-chord trick the
results are surprisingly uplifting. 'Pulse' and 'Cancer', too,continues the
journey into dream-epic territory with their near-orchestral textures.
(The latter is arguably the album's finest moment. A very beautiful moment).
Final track, 'No Way Outro' , turns its face towards the sun bringing the
project to a rousing close with a curious but powerful folsky optimism.
As another summer reaches its last burning embers 'Hearts' will find a
place in the frosts and fogs of another year's end. Autumnal music indeed.