Horse Jumper of Love — So Divine (June 28, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)⊗    Boston trio who specialize in glacial, slowcore~inflected indie rock that is as measured and contemplative as it is rich and absorbing.
Location: Boston, MA
Album release: June 28, 2019
Recording date: 2014 ~ 2016
Recording Location: Big Nice Studio in Lincoln, RI
Record Label: Run For Cover
Duration:    29:24
01 Airport   3:41
02 Volcano   3:33 
03 Cops   1:38
04 Aliens   1:29 
05 Poison   3:26 
06 Twist Cone   0:55
07 Ur Real Life   3:16 
08 John Song   2:39 
09 Stray Dog  2:24 
10 Nature   3:33
11 Heaven   2:50
⊗    Natalie Copeland   Vocals
⊗    Jamie Doran   Drums, Group Member, Percussion, Vocals
⊗    Dimitri Giannopoulos  Engineer, Gr. Memb., Guitar, Guitar (Steel), Loops, Synthesizer, Vocals
⊗    Horse Jumper of Love   Producer
⊗    Bradford Krieger   Engineer, Mixing, Percussion, Piano, Producer
⊗    John Marguris   Bass, Group Member, Synthesizer, Vocals
⊗    Chaimes Parker   Engineer
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger; Score: ★★★½
•     The Boston~based trio’s sophomore studio effort and first outing for Run for Cover, So Divine delivers a narcotic amalgam of churning, fuzzed~out indie rock, sludgy basement metal, off~kilter psych~folk, and torpor~inducing slowcore. Commencing with the slow~burning “Airport,” which evokes Sunny Day Real Estate by way of Codeine and Duster, the 11~track set establishes a distinctive hypnic jerk groove early on. As capable of achieving raw power as they are at doling out twitchy, molasses~slow slabs of sonic uncertainty, Horse Jumper of Love create unsettling music using the dregs of traditional pop architecture. So Divine’s miasmatic bleat is tempered a bit by frontman Dimitri Giannopoulos’ fever~dream lyrics and propensity towards contrasting his delicate falsetto with Cobain~esque howls of desperation (“I feel invisible with my clothes off!,” “I’m not going anywhere!”), and the band’s serpentine melodies and inventive arrangements help to elevate standout cuts like “Volcano” and the dream pop gem “Nature,” the latter of which features the LP’s stickiest riff. Echoes of early Red House Painters run through the languid “Poison,” and the bellowing “UR Real Life” resembles what Pavement might have sounded like had they gone the shoegaze route.
•     Slowcore, for better or for worse, often sounds like how being sick feels, and So Divine has plenty of terminal moments. That said, there is an undercurrent of playfulness (or madness) that weaves its way through the album that reveals itself more fully with consecutive spins.
by Quinn Moreland
Aug. 14, 2019; Score: 7.4
•    On their second album, the Boston slowcore trio’s pensive, downtempo rock has grown tighter, clearer, and at times brighter.
•    Minutes into Horse Jumper of Love’s second record, So Divine, it’s obvious why the Boston trio opened for slowcore legends Duster on their 2018 reunion tour. Both bands have an affinity for allowing the space between thoughts to germinate, until a molehill~sized musing becomes an impenetrable, towering glacier. But Horse Jumper of Love are not copying their predecessors as much as making similar ideas their own.
•    Three years after their self~titled debut, the band’s pensive, downtempo rock has grown tighter, clearer, and at times — dare I say — brighter. Opening tracks “Airport” and “Volcano” begin where Horse Jumper of Love left off, crawling forward with unhurried momentum and quietly seething until their layers of heavy rhythms become unbearable. “Everything is freaking me out,” Dimitri Giannopoulos grouses on “Volcano” with an almost humorous nonchalance.
•    Giannopoulos’ lyrics are impressionistic and threadbare fragments: plants splattered with yogurt, Dixie cups of rainwater, fingers stained by cherry pulp. Like another musician who found inspiration in gallery visitors, the standout “Poison” compiles observations from Giannopoulos’ time as a museum security guard into a surreal domestic drama (“I opened my legs so you can crawl through,” he sings, channeling a very patient father). Giannopoulos maintains that there’s no single objective meaning behind his lyrics, which makes the unambiguous couplet that comprises the subsequent “Cops” somewhat startling: “All the cops burst into tears of joy/When it’s announced we’re in a police state.” It’s an unexpected moment of candor from a band more comfortable with opacity, and as the song’s heavy instrumental outro gives way to the otherworldly wooziness of “Aliens,” its bluntness feels out of place.
•    These songs rely on sedate, hypnotic repetition, and to succeed they require a tether, something to keep them from dissolving completely. While “Airport” and “Volcano” sustain themselves with incremental progression, songs like “Aliens” and “John Song” never fully emerge from the lo~fi haze. So Divine is at its strongest when moving forward, as on the standout “Ur Real Life,” which seesaws between distortion and restraint. “I feel OK/Under your real life,” Giannopoulos bashfully profeses, before the trio surge once more.
•    “Nature,” the penultimate track, is a welcome departure from So Divine’s slow burn. Lush, twangy, and a tad bluesy, the song detonates into a sudden fray of noise and concludes with an understated profundity: “It was too visceral/I don’t know/If you’ll ever see it clearly.” Many slowcore bands’ minimalist lyrics walk a fine line between the heavy~handed and the abstract. Though Horse Jumper of Love occasionally brush against both extremes, they trudge on in search of balance.