Heartbreak Rules by Horse Jumper of Love album review by Erin MacLeod for Northern Transmissions


Heartbreak Rules

Horse Jumper Of Love

It’s late May. There have been some cold days over this past winter, but the day that Horse Jumper of Love’s mini-album Heartbreak Rules is released, it’s gloriously warm and sunny. People walk around with sweaters wrapped around their waists because t-shirts are more comfortable. The lazy, languorous sounds of the Boston trio are what folks call “slowcore”, but this is the band stripped down to basics.

Heartbreak Rules is front man Dimitri Giannopoulos’s affair – he wrote and recorded it on his own, apparently with nothing more than guitar, practice amp, midi keyboard and limited drums. The minimalist result is a version of Horse Jumper of Love that, much like how the Weakerthans are perfect accompaniment for the first crisp days of fall, this music is perfect accompaniment for those initial indications that hazy summer is on the way.

Eight songs are brand new, but there are also spare versions of “I Put Sugar in Your Shoes” and “Chariot”. Given that the bulk of the album was recorded alongside engineer and adjunct Horse Jumper Bradford Kroeger during the pandemic, it perhaps fitting that Giannopoulos’s voice sounds cautiously optimistic throughout. His imagistic lyrics seem to comment on bits and pieces of things as they cross his mind: “crying over the spilt almond milk and the sunlight makes the moss look like gold” from “Pendulum” is but one example. The overall lack of narrative thread isn’t really a problem, because the warm guitars and loose, plodding drums are relaxing and melodies both plaintive and pretty.

Closing out the just over 30 minute project is a cover of Smashing Pumpkin’s “Luna”. It’s lucky that this ten-year-old recording was unearthed as it is particularly lovely, with vocals echoing over spare guitar. Just like how one warm day makes you hope for another, Heartbreak Rules makes you feel like listening to the whole record again, starting from the beginning just to get that feeling of wanting to take your jacket off, slow down, sit on a park bench, and have a moment soundtracked by these eleven songs.

Order Heartbreak Rules by Horse Jumper Of Love HERE


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