I Break Horses Live at The Village Underground
I wasn’t expecting to have a religious experience in Shoreditch on a cold winter Thursday night at the Village Underground, but that’s kinda what happened.
Swedish act I Break Horses, took to the darkened stage opening with the haunting – almost frightening – Medicine Brush. Back lit, spot lights delivering punishing rays of illumination to the eager faces of the sold out crowd, Maria Lindén seemed to be conducting some kind of sermon, while her band mates hid in their hoodies behind her. Their latest album, Chiaroscuro, roughly translates to light-dark, which goes some way in explaining the drama.
We, humble disciples of dark soundscapes and shoegaze, stood in awe as she raised her arms, commanding us to listen. The sleeves on her black, tumbling robes encouraging more drama with every movement, the cross* hanging from her neck, swinging to her body’s repose to the bass. Still they stay back lit, faces hidden from questioning eyes. This is a fucking cult. But it was too late to back out. I was hooked.
Two of her band mates joined her up front in the second track, Ascension, thrashing their drums either side of their raven haired mistress. Lindén struck a quick prayer pose between each track, making eye contact with us, but not giving too much away.
‘This is one of our happier tracks’ she smiled before playing Denial. But their ‘upbeat’ track didn’t rouse the crowd who seemed dead-set on being stationary.
Closing the set with Winter Beats, we were reminded that we were at the Church of I Break Horses ( and that they are awesome – even if the crowd ain’t dancing), with synths being programmed with organ sounds. I’m not into religion, but this was a service I would relinquish my Sundays for.