Chiaroscuro

I Break Horses

Chiaroscuro

Second album from Swedish shoegaze / synth pop duo Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck, the follow-up to their much praised debut Hearts

ADM rating[?]

7.2

Label
PIAS America
UK Release date
20/01/2014
US Release date
21/01/2014
  1. 8.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Chiaroscuro is triumphant
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  2. 8.0 |   DIY

    It works: they’re always able to create something to get lost in. And, most importantly, the songs remain heartbreakingly, hauntingly beautiful
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  3. 8.0 |   Entertainment.ie

    The hazy shimmer of their debut has given way to a sleeker, more alluring incarnation and the view is equally impressive. A revelation
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  4. 8.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    All in all, Chiaroscuro is an engaging record that brings new flavours to the palette with every subsequent listen
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  5. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    Throughout this remarkable album, they celebrate their developing artistry and seemingly boundless ambition
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  6. 8.0 |   The 405

    This is an interlocking, complimentary album-in-the-traditional-sense, where each song on display acts as a contrast or as a buffer or as a prelude or comedown to another
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  7. 8.0 |   Q

    Her breathy vocals elevate these warm, enveloping songs to a richer level. Print edition only

  8. 8.0 |   musicOMH

    It seems likely that those who discovered I Break Horses back in 2011 will initially be disappointed with Chiaroscuro, but it takes time for expectations to be put to one side and for it to unfurl properly
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  9. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    The second record by Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck (after 2011’s Hearts) inhabits a sweeping, elegant, sensuous world that’s dizzying in its poetic vision
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  10. 7.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    Basically, this isn’t light years away from debut ‘Hearts’, but Lindén says all she cared about was ignoring second album pressures, and that plan of attack has made for steady improvement
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  11. 7.0 |   The Quietus

    The three remaining Pixies have now released almost an albums-worth of new songs. The good ones outnumber the bad...a fascinating next phase for this most cherished of bands
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  12. 7.0 |   Uncut

    Deluxe cinematic pop by hugely accomplished composer-producers. Print edition only

  13. 7.0 |   The Digital Fix

    Chiaroscuro is a heady, synthetic cocktail mixed to lull and intrigue
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  14. 7.0 |   NME

    Chiaroscuro' is the contrast of light and dark in art or literature. Sweden's Maria Lindén plays with these shades on her second album, recording mournful songs using the brightest possible synth-pop sounds
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  15. 7.0 |   PopMatters

    This is deluxe artpop with hearts and smarts and I Break Horses retain their spot as houseband in Superman’s crystalline Fortress of Solitude
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  16. 7.0 |   Under The Radar

    Chiaroscuro revels in the growing confidence of the Stockholm-based Lindén, giving more clarity and volume to her alluring, fragile range
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  17. 7.0 |   State

    There is no difficult second album syndrome here, just a different second album. A sleeker, shinier second album that reveals itself a little more with each listen
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  18. 6.0 |   No Ripcord

    Chiaroscuro is a strong effort by I Break Horses that doesn't manage to get firing on all cylinders, but does offer more than enough strong points to make it worth checking out
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  19. 6.0 |   The Observer

    It's all stylishly conceived, but – in part because Lindén's deadpan vocals are buried so deep in the mix – too often it fails to engage
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  20. 6.0 |   The Guardian

    Linden's songs are structurally simple yet too busy, layered with rolling, bending, juddering, chiming, spiralling, crackling electronic noise
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  21. 6.0 |   Mojo

    The mood is anxious and reflective. Print edition only

  22. 5.9 |   Pitchfork

    A record whose middling between arena aspirations and headphones listening feels less of a fusion and more of a compromise
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I Break Horses: Chiaroscuro

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