I Break Horses, and the particular pub story behind it beats many of the sodden tales that I could ever conjure up for first time encounters with friends.
“You could get access to a doctor if you were a member on this site called Net Doctor and then you could ask this doctor for symptoms and Fredrick, who writes the lyrics for I Break Horses, was there at the same time and we were writing and thought we had the same kind of cancer,” explains Maria Lindén, who makes up the line-up. So it seems that a shared hypochondria is a formula for sonic success.
Lindén recently signed to indie colossi Bella Union and impresses with sultry, emotion-laced arias straight from a bedroom in a small village in northern Sweden. As the shy brunette admits, the music was as much a cathartic liberation as it was a showcase of her unmistakable talent. “There wasn’t much to do in that small place so it was only sport or music to choose from”.
The muted thump and accompanying melodies that greet the start of the title track from upcoming debut ‘Hearts’ have already caused excited bloggers to bind ties with the shoegazing antics of the late-’80s. Yearning synths duly enter, a heart-warming presence melted up against carefully placed guitar strums. Lindén’s vocals seem just about there; almost as if someone slipped the vocal track down too low during mixing as they ebb through the track just under the main melody. Almost as quickly as it starts, parts daintily fade away, the instrumentation eventually winning the aural tug-of-war.
It’s all very rousing as well as being mildly seductive. The track makes you want more and more of its reeling croons. ‘Cancer’ briefly conjures up hypochondriac puns, but the lyrics and content are especially chilling; cue an equally stony serenade from Maria: “Lay your cold hand down on my hardest vein”.
Overall, it leaves a lot of promise for the record, which is out in early August. The album that she’s thrown together is as clean and intriguing as her overarching concern for health. Win.
Where: Stockholm, Sweden
What: Shoegaze/dream pop
Unique fact: Maria has a fear of her own pulse after an incident where she fainted as a youth
Get 3 songs: ‘Hearts’, ‘Winter Beats’, ‘Cancer’
All clothes by Ted Baker
Words by Errol Anderson
Photo by Samuel John Butt