Chiaroscuro

Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
Buy On
  1. 85
    Rest assured, young worrier, Chiaroscuro is triumphant.
  2. Feb 5, 2014
    80
    Chiaroscuro is built to unspool slowly, cut deep, and last a long time.
  3. Jan 31, 2014
    80
    If the first half of Chiaroscuro is tragedy you can vogue to, then the ending is just tragedy--pure, simple and affecting.
  4. Q Magazine
    Jan 28, 2014
    80
    [Linden's] breathy vocals elevate these warm, enveloping songs to a richer level. [Feb 2014, p.116]
  5. Jan 23, 2014
    80
    All in all, Chiaroscuro is an engaging record that brings new flavours to the palette with every subsequent listen. Prepare to swoon...
  6. Jan 23, 2014
    80
    Everything's connected on Chiaroscuro, providing an extra jolt of energy and plentiful scope for hidden nuggets upon repeated listens than if it was just chopped up singles.
  7. Jan 15, 2014
    80
    They’re always able to create something to get lost in. And, most importantly, the songs remain heartbreakingly, hauntingly beautiful.
  8. Jan 15, 2014
    80
    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. Yet when it does, it is truly wonderful.
  9. Jan 23, 2014
    70
    If Chiaroscuro isn’t quite as magnificently mesmerising as I Break Horses’ house of secrets début it still conjures enough magic to suggest it’s been touched by the wands of faeries and wizards.
  10. Jan 23, 2014
    70
    More than just developing the band's lush baroque shoegaze, Chiaroscuro revels in the growing confidence of the Stockholm-based Lindén, giving more clarity and volume to her alluring, fragile range.
  11. Uncut
    Jan 15, 2014
    70
    The meanings might be obscure, but Chiaroscuro is still deluxe cinematic pop by hugely accomplished composer-producers. [Feb 2014, p.76]
  12. 70
    Her 2011 debut 'Hearts' had the drift and shimmer of shoegaze, but Chiaroscuro is sharper, even flirting with techno on the densely layered 'Faith' and handclapping electro on 'Denial' as Lindén tries out all the electronic styles of the 1980s.
  13. Mojo
    Jan 23, 2014
    60
    Chiaroscuro is the contrast between light and dark in visual art, and I Break Horses' second album is similarly conflicted. [Feb 2014, p.97]
  14. Jan 21, 2014
    60
    As tracks like the bombastic slow jam "Ascension" and the Drive soundtrack cast-off "Disclosure" add a bit of auditory depth to the album, much of Chiaroscuro runs at a dreary autopilot pace.
  15. Jan 15, 2014
    60
    Linden's songs are structurally simple yet too busy, layered with rolling, bending, juddering, chiming, spiralling, crackling electronic noise.
  16. Jan 15, 2014
    60
    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.
  17. Jan 17, 2014
    59
    A record whose middling between arena aspirations and headphones listening feels less of a fusion and more of a compromise.

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