After opening for M83 on their US tour, I Break Horses
headlined a sold-out show at the Echo in Los Angeles. Oddly, the band played a setlist consisting of only 6 songs, performing for roughly 40 minutes. This might have been out of habit, seeing as I Break Horses is used to its usual opening slot or, more likely, due to the bands illness. "We're actually sick today--me and the drummer. So sorry about the vocals. We're doing our best," remarked lead singer Maria Lindén halfway through the set. After touring for 6 weeks, the Swedish duo of Lindn and Fredrick Balck understandably appeared to have worn themselves out however, there was no need for apology. Without the announcement, none of the sweaty bodies at the packed venue would have even noticed. Balck's pulsating drum beats seemed more than on par, and with the bands shoegaze style, Lindén's vocals blended into the distortion of guitar and synths, making for indistinguishable lyrics and no sign of illness.
Amidst the fusion of fog and haunting blue & green lights, the band entered the stage in silhouette. The dark figures opened with "Hearts," the title track of the band's debut LP. The title reveals the booming heartbeat that underlies each of the songs on the album. In concert, the beat is made even more noticeable as we experience the pulse of the music with our own. "Hearts" set the tone for the rest of the night in both content and form. The echoing vocals mixed with the reverb of guitar, synths, and drums provided for loud and powerful vibrations that created a highly sensory experience. The band continued to be silhouetted as they were lit from behind with intergalactic-looking and radiant colors. The mixture of lights, fogs, and shadowed figures upheld a sense of mystery that was only taken down with the comments made by Lindén in between songs. After a second song, "Wired," she revealed the band's homeland as she fumbled over pronouncing Los Angeles. "Los Angeles... Angelees? I dont know how to pronounce it. We're from Sweden," said Lindén sincerely. It was clear that she and her bandmates were very grateful to have such a terrific following in the states.
Ending with "I Kill Your Love, Baby," the song encapsulated the sounds of the album and concert. Balck set the simple beat as the guitar picking gently added on. A circling melody, provided by synthesizers, joined the combination of sounds. The homemade shoegaze style was complete with tremulous reverb and distorted, yet etherial vocals. Lindén was the first to leave the stage, gratefully bowing and blowing kisses as a thank you to the audience. As the band members continued to exit one by one, Balck was left alone onstage, finishing with a powerful and pulsating beat.
03. Empty bottles
04. Load Your Eyes
05. Winter Beats
06. I Kill Your Love, Baby