Published Jan 20, 2014Shoegaze and electronic music have always shared numerous sonic sensibilities; dreamy soundscapes, driving rhythms and washes of effects. Following in the footsteps of digital fuzzcrafters like M83 and Ulrich Schnauss, I Break Horses flawlessly merge these two headphone-friendly genres on their sophomore release, Chiaroscuro. Led by Swedish vocalist/programmer Maria Lindén, the nine tracks that make up Chiaroscuro all seemingly feed from the same recipe of foggy, slow-moving synth tones and diminutive, whispery vocals.
As tracks like the bombastic slow jam "Ascension" and the Drive soundtrack cast-off "Disclosure" add a bit of auditory depth to the album, much of Chiaroscuro runs at a dreary autopilot pace. Although I Break Horses aren't exactly breaking musical ground with their second release, tracks like "Berceuse" and the stark closer "Heart to Know" manage to cast an emotional depth to Lindén's often wordless vocal musings, making Chiaroscuro an album that runs almost exclusively on emotional fuel. (PIAS)