Horse Jumper of Love - Natural Part Music Album Reviews

Horse Jumper of Love - Natural Part Music Album Reviews
The Boston rock trio’s latest attempts to reconnect with the songwriting focus of their early demos, pushing beyond slowcore in search of something more direct.

Before they were a hazy slowcore band, Horse Jumper of Love wrote folk songs. A look back at the trio’s 2016 Demo Anthology reveals a softer side to frontman Dimitri Giannopoulos’ songwriting, one as influenced by acoustic indie-folk acts like Fleet Foxes and Dirty Projectors as it was by anything from Duster. Yet somewhere between their acclaim on the Boston house show circuit, the release of their first two albums, and the relentless touring that accompanied each, the band became known for a sound altogether different from those somber early demos: one that emphasized dense chords and crushing distortion over a conscious focus on narrative. Their latest album, Natural Part, is both a return to the songwriting mode of their demos and something altogether new, pushing beyond the tempos and textures of slowcore in search of something more direct.

Horse Jumper of Love songs have long felt like band-centric affairs. The opening notes of their self-titled debut set the tone: steady chords with simple changes and vocal melodies that mirrored riffs clearly written out on the guitar. Lyrical meaning came second to the emotional impact of each melody, with entire songs constructed around serpentine guitar riffs and the vocal lines they inspired. This approach situated the band’s first two albums within a larger alt-rock lineage; comparisons to slowcore pioneers like Duster and Low have followed, but the group’s sound has always had as much in common with Smashing Pumpkins or Silversun Pickups as it did with anything to come from the short-lived slowcore moment.

Natural Part is an ambitious attempt to reconnect with the songwriting focus of the band’s early demos. The album opens with just Giannopoulos’ barren voice, unaccompanied by the heavy riffs that were once so prevalent. “I can’t control the urge to keep healing myself through you,” he sings on “Snakeskin.” Despite the clarity and force of his vocals, Giannopoulos remains committed to lyrical abstraction, building heady, dream-like images that resist clear explanation. Like many other songs on the album, “Snakeskin” aspires to something larger and more impactful than the noisy repetition of the band’s early basement shows, even as the trio struggle to present a single, unified statement.

Still, multiple songs benefit from the band’s renewed interest in narrative. “I Poured Sugar in Your Shoes” is a charming mid-tempo ballad about the early stages of a relationship, using imagery inspired by Giannopoulos’ time as a prep chef to explore how feelings can grow and change with time. It’s a glimpse of what effective songwriting looks like in this mode, drawing together tighter verses and cleaner production coming into a semblance of a pop song. The title track might be the band’s single strongest song so far, finding warmth and comfort that cuts through abstraction. Psychedelic images give way to humor, grief, and epiphany as Giannopoulos sings about getting drunk, reading A People’s History of the United States, and ultimately reaching a stoned realization: “Deciding that romance does not exist with you/Was so romantic to me,” he murmurs over chorus-drenched arpeggios. It’s a rare moment when the trio’s drug-induced impressionism fits naturally into a larger storytelling gesture.

These songwriting breakthroughs are rare exceptions on an album that feels strained and inconsistent in the context of the band’s catalog. Where their first two albums were charming, unambitious statements held together with a lo-fi glue, Natural Part aspires to new heights, attempting the requisite evolution into a band with greater range. But this expectation—that an early-career indie band must grow and evolve in ambition—misses just how much of the trio’s appeal was always bound up in feel-good shows and unassuming recordings. Despite occasional moments of beauty, what’s left in this progressive push feels stiff and labored over, betraying the warm, bleary-eyed feeling that made the band’s first two albums so beloved.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Horse Jumper of Love - Natural Part Music Album Reviews Horse Jumper of Love - Natural Part Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, July 07, 2022 Rating: 5

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