I BREAK HORSES is the musical project led by Maria Lindén. From her Stockholm base, the Swedish artist delivered an extraordinary debut album in the shape of Hearts, released by Bella Union in August 2011. Forward two years, and the arrival of an eagerly awaited follow-up, entitled Chiaroscuro, is upon us. The latest chapter in I Break Horses’ much celebrated songbook is everything fans could wish for and more. In the words of Lindén: “My only aim when starting to write this album was to ignore any possible second album expectations.” The result is a more confident and evolved sound with a more dramatic expression.
The title of Chiaroscuro – meaning “light-dark” – serves as the perfect embodiment of Lindén’s sonic creations, where an atmosphere and mood is created that evokes innermost feelings and thoughts residing beyond the surface reality of the material world. Affecting ballads such as ‘Heart To Know’ and ‘You Burn’ are wrapped in fragile beauty. ‘Denial’ and ‘Medicine Brush’ are sublime synth-pop odysseys whose pulses guide you to new horizons. ‘Faith’ is a dance anthem complete with hypnotic beats, swirling synths and the mesmerising looped vocals of Lindén. “I let myself write both the happiest songs but also the saddest, and then I put them together”, states Lindén. This arrangement of light and dark forms the essence of Chiaroscuro.
‘Ascension’ is rooted in 80s synth-pop sound, where Lindén’s vocals melt into the lush sonic tapestry. The song deals with love and forgiveness. An irresistible groove lies at the heart of ‘Disclosure’ where a divine purity is distilled in the intricate array of instrumentation. ‘You Burn’ is perhaps the album’s centrepiece, as well as being the opening track, where a brooding darkness envelops the surrounding human space. The delicate piano chords drift magnificently amidst Linden’s searching lyrics.
Saturday 16 November – DUBLIN – 02 Arena *
Monday 18 November – EDINBURGH – Usher Hall *
Tuesday 19 November – NOTTINGHAM – Capital FM Arena *
Wednesday 20 November – BRIGHTON – Brighton Centre *
Thursday 21 November – LONDON – Wembley Arena *
Saturday 23 November – LUXEMBOURG – Rockhal *
Sunday 24 November – FRANKFURT – Jahrhunderthalle *
Monday 25 November – DUSSELDORF – Mitsubishi Electric Hall *
Wednesday 27 November – MALMO – Baltiska Hallen *
Thursday 28 November – OSLO – Spektrum *
Thursday 23 January – LONDON – Village Undergrond
* = w/ Sigur Ros
I Break Horses
(Bella Union / PIAS)
Street Date: Jan. 21, 2014
1. You Burn
6. Medicine Brush
8. Weigh True Words
9. Heart To Know