I Break Horses: Warnings (Bella Union) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 29th, 2024  


Bella Union

May 07, 2020 I Break Horses Bookmark and Share

Sweden’s I Break Horses (aka Maria Lindén) returns with her third album, Warnings, demonstrating her music has lost none of its magisterial artistry during the project’s six-year hiatus.

Lindén has again fashioned a body of work that swells with a transcendent beauty, shattering the myth that electronic music is by default cold and impersonal. As with her previous work, Warnings possesses the sweeping grandeur and vision of Sigur Rós, the emotional depth and glacial grace of Cocteau Twins, and the introspective bleakness of Anna Von Hausswolff. And this time around it feels even more cinematic and immersive. As appealing as the single releases have been, Warnings is much more satisfying when experienced as a complete body of work, almost like a suite or a movie soundtrack.

Lindén also kicks against the tendency for artists to record Spotify-friendly-designed-for- playlist-music, explaining in the press materials: “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.”

To prove her point, Warnings kicks off with the swirling “Turn,” which clocks in at just over nine minutes and is a master class in understated, elegiac Spetoresqe symphonic pop. “Silence” conjures up images of millions of stars twinkling in the night sky as disorientating warped synths swoop around Lindén’s heartfelt vocals. Whilst “Baby You Have Travelled for Miles Without Love in Your Eyes” might win the award for the longest song title, it’s a track that appears to be about addiction. “As you poison your veins/Nobody’s gonna hear you cry,” Lindén sings, delivering the line with empathy and genuine feeling. “Death Engine” is a voyage just shy of eight minutes and is quite simply glorious, bursting with cascading synths and humanity whilst boasting one of Lindén’s best-ever vocal performances. Despite the dark subject matter (attempted suicide), it gracefully unfurls as a soaring anthem of tenderness, compassion, and hope.

Although Warnings was written before the dreaded term COVID -19 existed it is a remarkably prescient album. “It’s not a political album,” said Lindén in the press release, “though it relates to the alarmist times we live in. Each song is a subtle warning of something not being quite right.”

The album closes with “Depression Tourist” and despite the heavily synthesised vocals, you get the sense of the glittering tune that lies beneath the gauzy distortion, almost as if you’re glimpsing an indistinct form of beauty through an icy windscreen. Warnings is a triumphant, timely, and life-affirming return. (www.ibreakhorses.se)

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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