Review: I Break Horses’ Elaborate & Lush Walls Of Sound In ‘Warnings’

I Break Horses | Warnings | Bella Union

Release Date: 8 May, 2020

In the era we live in, it feels as if everything around us has sped up – whether it means full seasons of tv series dropping on Netflix all at once, as opposed to watching episode by episode week by week – or ‘bite-size’, easy to digest content – allows us feelings of instant gratification. That need for instant gratification can leave us feeling as though we are in a constant state of chaos, that everything around us is way too overwhelming; and sometimes, we forget how important it is to slow down and reflect.

For Swedish ‘electro-gaze’ duo I Break Horses (consisting of lead-songwriter Maria Lindén and percussionist Fredrik Balck) their third album ‘Warnings’ – which has been in development for over 5 years – has a clear focus on taking this time to just slow down. To be patient, notice the intricate details of our relationships, emotions, the spaces we inhabit, our artistic creations and of course, the beautiful complexity of auditory textures and immersion within music is prominent in the album – and most definitely welcomed.

“Nowadays, the attention span equals nothing when it comes to how most people consume music, and it feels like songs are getting shorter, more ‘efficient’. I felt an urge to go against that and create an album journey from start to finish that takes time and patience to listen to. Like, slow the fuck down!”

During the writing process of ‘Warnings’, producer & sound engineer Chris Coady came on board (known for his work with Tv On The Radio and Beach House) Lindén was immediately drawn to his approach to creating music, aside from his obvious skill – his a focus on slowing down and the joy of textural immersion immediately caught Lindén’s attention, and the collaboration has worked effortlessly within the album’s production.

I Break Horses fluid blend of genres, from loving electronica to nostalgic shoegaze is immediately mesmerising, and in ‘Warnings’ (which Lindén affirms is not alarmist or political despite the times we live in, but rather “each song is a subtle warning of something not being quite right.”) the focus on rich soundscapes and intricate, lengthy auditory expression is a charming evolution from their 2011 debut ‘Hearts‘ and following 2014 sophomore album ‘Chiaroscuro‘ – and well worth the wait.

The Prophet‘ is a track that effortlessly showcases I Break Horses exceptionally detailed, ethereal approach to sculpting entrancing, lavish soundscapes; opening with the delicacy of a driven, yet subtle heartbeat – Lindén’s radiant, floral vocals bloom as shimmering silken petals, a meadow of reverb drenched harmonies drawing us into a personal, introspective and intimate heart-strings-pulled-taut narrative.

Gossamer threads of electronic textures weave multicoloured webs of an emotional auditory journey, melodious and bright with the rich, shimmering with the melancholia of bittersweet, lovingly warm shoegaze – the bewitching sprouts of intrigued, curious melodies of synths glitter in the rhythmic bloom as walls of sound engulf listeners.

Lindén’s smooth and touching dream-pop vocals are celestial in their passionate aura; the personal touch of the vocalist’s subject matter and focus on the complexities of relationships is endearingly catchy as she reflects amongst dulcet synths as they accompany her in a thoughtful companionship.

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Rating: 8 / 10

Feature Image: Maria Lindén by Fredrik Balck