Studio 52 is a community artist space located in the heart of Allston, and is proud to support the Boston music scene and local artist community.
When pinned against Boston’s retrograde of early ’90s alternative rock, Horse Jumper of Love are a savored, sweet speed bump in the road. And their accent is clear.
They force the listener to breathe, to follow their melancholic and syrupy rhythms until the band reaches a brink, and when they do, you fall into that glazing abyss with them. A single listen allows the listener to nod along with the cadence, to hang on frontman Dimitri Giannopolous’ melancholic, honeyed vocals. And when you see them live, you immediately anticipate the next show. This week, that next show arrives Wednesday (July 12) at Great Scott in Allston.
Those slow and rapturous chord progressions, the lo-fi interludes, a lingering echo… suddenly you realize this band goes way beyond simplicity and strives for something raw, deep, and truthful: Defying inner anxieties and challenging them at the forefront.
Of course, Horse Jumper’s John Margaris (bass/vocals) and Jamie Doran (drums) bring Giannopolous’ abstracted, dulcet lyrics and ambient strumming into a full narrative. The trio’s recent Audiotree Live recording, from March, hints at the band’s underlying implosions that cascade throughout each performance and in each song, and with the beaming “Ugly Brunette,” fosters the band’s signature blend of anticipatory slow rock that knocks at the heaviness to come.
“Ugly Brunette’ is a song that stemmed from this memory of a t shirt I had when I was 11,” Giannopolous tells Stereogum. “I thought of that shirt randomly one day and how bad I felt about losing it and then I started listing a bunch of things I felt bad about when I was 11.”
“Ugly Brunette’s” beating drum, covered with the long, drizzling, and heavy guitar chords that pick up as Dimitri’s gentle, soft and voice sings softly until suddenly, an airy riff takes you in the air, you melt into the story too. The heavy and dark “Spaceman” offers an even deeper contemplation, beginning with a crestfallen drum pattern decorated with gentle and climatic strumming soon glides into a warm and velvety mess.
The band doesn’t let this go when they play live, either.
With Giannopolous’ sad, angst-filled lyrics accompanied by Margaris and Doran’s fuzzy and distorted chord progressions, the band emulates something of a cutting solo project that intersects and concurs within each other that seem to gravitationally pull together the band as one. These indwelling yet differing moments among band members seem to hold the trio together to success, making their live performances a muddled, distorted, and blissful experience, forcing you to follow the story of Giannopolous’ sweet and sad voice and the melody that follows closely behind.
As Horse Jumper of Love build on March 2016’s self-titled release, they continue to gain traction, playing locally at Boston house shows and at small venues, breaking the barrier of the alternative aesthetic by offering this metaphorical sound to slow down and to feel the inner angst rather than rush it through. In fact, many of the band’s songs are so sweet and fragmented that they randomly cut off, as if leaving it to the listener to take it as it may and to interpret and contemplate just as deeply as the band may.
The trio is something of a tease, exercising patience for you to savor, but if you can ride in the passenger seat with them until the end, you are rewarded with perhaps some of the band’s most refined, piercing and palpitating ambient sounds that will ride with you forever.
Nod along this week in Allston.
HORSE JUMPER OF LOVE + FRATERNAL TWIN + STOLEN JARS + JUDY CHONG :: Wednesday, July 12 at Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Ave. in Allston, MA :: 9 p.m., 18-plus, $8 in advance and $10 day of show :: Advance tickets :: Bowery Boston event page :: Facebook event page :: Featured photo by Mel Taing