REVIEW: I Break Horses – Hearts

I have these doubts, you see, that most readers have yet to find out about the Swedish duo known as I Break Horses.  I can almost guarantee you that musicians Maria Linden and Fredrik Balck are not household names.  I can affirm that when most people think of Swedish music, they think of Ace of Base or Robyn or ABBA.  Fortunately, I Break Horses is nothing like these three groups but they are quite unknown.  I didn’t even have a Wikipedia page to look off of to make it seem like I knew more than I actually did about them.

But alas, the world is full of surprise and uncertainty and I’m all for that in small doses.  Music is fun to be surprised by; I can really appreciate good music that comes out of nowhere (fortunately I can also appreciate horribly bad music like this…and I find this amazing).  So while this review will be quite concise, there’s very little need to dwell on certain intricacies and little reason to gripe.  Let me preface by saying that this will be a ‘good’ review.  Interested yet?  No?  Let me explain a bit.

The CD opens almost mystically with the song “Winter Beats” and it’s easy to get a grasp of where the rest of the album is going; it’s not going to knock your socks off with anything major, hard-hitting, or innovative, but it’s going to be some fairly decent music.  Like many of the later songs, “Winter Beats” tends to drag a little (only two of the nine songs on the CD are below the four minute mark) but since everything flows exceedingly well, it’s only a minor gripe.  Like a good ambient album, you’ll get the best listen if you move from start to finish.  In some songs, you’ll barely notice a transition (if at all).

To be fair, I don’t consider this CD to be an indie offering; I think of it as more of an instrumental disc.  Although voices can be heard in every song on the album, it’s almost as though the words aren’t important.  The voices are simply there to be heard.  If you allow the tracks to take you where they will, there are very few issues to be had.  It’s the lazy river equivalent of an album.

Even the drums sound smooth on tracks like “Pulse”, a song whose title doesn’t even reflect a refined ambiance.  While this song would be beat-heavy in the wrong hands, I Break Horses doesn’t break the electronic flow of the track, instead weaving it into the calm that is the rest of the disc.

Really, I don’t care about the shape my music takes; this CD may not even have a definable shape.  It whisks by quite quickly if you’re not paying attention and it’s hardly too short to notice.  Nevertheless, you can’t argue with a bad thing.  Even if you’ve never really cared for the synthesizer, the Swedes, or pseudo-shoegaze you might really find a hidden gem in Hearts.  I certainly did and I most certainly recommend it.

(8.5/10)



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