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-  Label: 'Bella Union'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '8th May 2020'

Our Rating:
Cinematic is an overused adjective to describe ambient tinged dream pop but is unavoidable when considering the third album of 'I Break Horses'.

The twelve compositions derive from soundtrack sketches made by Stockholm based singer and lyricist Maria Lindén as she watched muted versions of some of her favourite films on her computer.

I'm guessing these films were more in the vein of art directors like Ingmar Bergman rather than Hollywood action movies. She names Nicolas Roeg's 'Bad Timing' and Robert Altman's '3 Women' among the sources. A lengthy track title Baby You Have Travelled For Miles Without Love In Your Eyes could be a pitch for a film of her own making.

What was originally intended as an instrumental album turned into something completely different. Lindén says: “It wasn’t until I felt an urge to add vocals and lyrics that I realized I was making a new I Break Horses album.” Three short instrumentals remain but the rest of the tracks feature her floaty voice backed by swirling synths and some effectively placed drum beats.

After a series of mishaps and false starts, the whole process took five years to complete and most of the recording ended up being done at her home.

Lindén is a self confessed perfectionist/control freak so you have to factor this into the long delay since her last album 'Chiaroscuro (2014). On previous releases Fredrik Balck is listed as the chief lyricist although his role seems to have been more peripheral for this album and he is not mentioned at all in the press release.

The 'Warnings' of the title relate to the dark times we are living in right now although there is nothing overtly political about the record. It's more a collections of anthems about personal issues with no obvious attempts to put the world to rights.

US producer/mixing engineer Chris Coady has also worked with Beach House and the link between the two bands is immediately obvious. This is slow immersive music with a stronger focus on textures and atmosphere than their previous records.

The album takes a while to get into with the first true tracks (Turn and Silence) having an introspective mood. However, the motorik pulse of I'll Be The Death of You picks up the pace, Neon Lights is pure dream pop and these tunes prepare the listener for the album's dark and sultry centrepiece Death Engine which sounds like Suicide flirting with Shoegaze.

The vocoder drenched Depression Tourist is a melancholy closing before we fade to black.

  author: Martin Raybould

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