GT Reviews... Hearts
by I Break Horses
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When you first realise that I Break Horses are yet another Swedish export you would of course expect front woman Maria Lindén to unleash a technicolour of camp pop over the 9 tracks (a la Robyn). However, prepare to be met with a much different sound from our Aryan cousins. This is the first album from the Stockholm duo who were signed to London-based record label Bella Union in 2009. IBH draw inspiration from shoegaze bands such as Slowdive to develop the 90s genre further, and to prove that this particular sect of indie-rock wasn’t just a passing fad. Trying to compare Hearts to anything that has previously hit our shores from our flat-pack friends would be impossible. The hush vocals from Lindén echo across the underlying drumbeats and blinking synth to create a sound that is both relaxed and powerful.
The lead single, with the same name, which was released in July, preceded both Winter Beats and Wired as the duo’s first tracks before the release of their album in August. It’s dulcet tones make for easy listening (think, whale sounds meets the 21st century), and no doubt every waiting room up and down the country will be churning it out thick and fast. The album itself seems to come from quite an uncomfortable place, with tracks such as Cancer and I Kill Your Love, Baby! offering quite a depressing shift from the relatively upbeat Pulse. We have all been caught sniveling to the dulcet tones of The XX or Foals, but IBH quite literally leaves us hanging with each track, with much of the album merging into one big melancholic fur ball. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s refreshing to hear a completely different sound from a country that has brought us so many sequin-soaked groups over the years. The pint-sized wall of sound produced with each track isn’t likely to dominate our stereos, but is better suited to mornings when we are feeling particularly delicate and FML is the only thing we can muster up.
Album available to buy on iTunes from 22 August
Words: Paul Middleton