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on 23 January 2014
'Chiaroscuro' is the second studio album from the Swedish group 'I Break Horses'. The album follows the Swede's popular 2011 début 'Hearts'. Incidentally, 'Chiaroscuro' is also an artistic term to describe the use of contrast (i.e. light and dark) to affect the overall size and grandeur of a piece of work. Musically this is evident in the fluctuations throughout the record.

The reverberated chill wave ambience of their début seems long forgotten in their latest offering. Instead the record is supported by a foundation of clean but dark synth line akin to a Goldfrapp infused Ladytron; if that makes any sense?

This is one of the few (of many!) female led synthpop records that upon finishing I wanted to listen again. There is an element of intrigue in each track and it appears that whilst they don't reach the subliminal heights of the opening track there doesn't seem to be much filler.

Listen to: 'You Burn', 'Denial'
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on 22 January 2014
I will be honest, i never heard of I Break Horses until i went to a Sigur Ros gig in nottingham last year, i was instantly blown away by their synth heavy sounds.

So imagine my delight when i found out that I Break Horses will be performing in london in january (now gone) along with a brand new album. I downloaded their b=debut album a while back and have listened to it almost daily since, so it was with great anticipation that i waited patiently for this new album.

It does not disappoint, where Hearts had the feeling of a big warm hug from an old friend, Chiaroscuro is more like seeing that friend again after your friend has been through so much s***, and ending up in bed with her/him, delete where applicable...

Marie Linden certainly can sing, and perform on stage too, but the voice, its as angelic as can be, like a very sensual Kate Bush, but maybe a bit more weird.

Highlights include You Burn, Faith, Berceuse, and the amazing Medicine Brush, the latter of which is used as the opener to their live shows, as dramatic and dark as can be, however it is Heart To Know, the closing song, thats the stand out song on the album for me, it is worth buying the album for just that one song. Floaty, beautiful, sad, with a warm fuzzy sound that will melt your heart like chocolate.

I am sure that many who saw I Break Horses at the recent sigur ros gigs have fallen in love with the band, it was lovely to meet so many of you at the recent I Break Horses gig in Shoreditch, London, and everyone was raving about this album, quite right too, it is an instant classic, maybe the best album of 2014!

Honestly, you can click the Buy MP3 button in the safe knowledge that your going to end up smiling from ear to ear after the first listen, you will be mesmerised!
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on 22 January 2014
Evolving the beautiful sound of their first album, Hearts, the contrast of light/dark and upbeat/atmospheric tracks on Chiaroscuro works very well. Stand out tracks from my first listen were You Burn, Denial and Medicine Brush (perhaps the most intimate and intense song on the album, and my personal favourite).
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on 28 March 2015
great album.one of the best of 2014.
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on 28 January 2014
Oh, this is such a shame. Hearts is so monumentally wonderful -- one of the truly great albums of the last decade (and clearly an undiscovered gem, as only 5 people have bothered to review it on here) -- that the follow-up was always going to be tricky, and so it's proved. Maria Linden is obviously too talented to release a bad album; but after Hearts, this is just a bit of letdown. Not since Sigur Ros followed Agaetis Byrjun with () has a sophomore album been so underwhelming. Fortunately, Jonsi et al have proved that it's possible to peak again years later (Kveikur rivals even AB). Maybe Maria will do the same one day. It will certainly take more than one average album for me to lose the faith. But if you're looking for a masterpiece, buy Hearts, not Chiaroscuro.
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on 5 September 2014
Buy the first album that was immense. This just seems like a pop album, quite cross.
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