Next Stop: Horizon - We Know Where We Are Going

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 12 / 9 / 2011

Next Stop: Horizon - We Know Where We Are Going

Label: Tapete Records
Format: CD
Menacing Kurt Weill-influenced cabaret pop on surreal, but compelling debut album from Gothenburg-based duo, Next Stop: Horizon


When Pär and Jenny, aka Next Stop Horizon, say they know exactly where they’re going, I’m not entirely sure that I believe them, but I definitely want to go with them. This is a fairy-tale of an album, albeit a fairy-tale set in 1930’s Berlin and narrated by David Lynch. Weill-esque cabaret, monsters in cupboards, the vague menace of toy-box melodies, and brooding soundscapes come together to shape a piece of menace and foreboding, interspersed with moments of high camp. Opening track 'Iron Train' is reminiscent of Portishead’s 'Glory Box' with heavy overtones of Laurel Near/Peter Ivers’ 'In Heaven' from the Eraserhead soundtrack. Driven by a music-box motif, the track takes on layers of uneasy instrumentation, with an insouciant clarinet line coming and going over a solid yet subtle percussion track. “There’s a crack in the face of the world,” announces 'Wild Escape' ominously over a slap bass and drum background. “Something’s reaching out for me,” the lyric continues as the air of doom intensifies, before the relative safety of the high-kicking middle eight. The track is held together by a tight rhythm line, yet still threatens to come apart in the most exciting and terrifying way as it approaches its climax. 'Mysterious Grace' takes the cabaret element and pushes it to it extreme. A forceful melody, an empowered vocal and terrific brass backing while 'One of Those Nights' is a simple, guitar and voice confessional – it would not sound out of place on Vic Chesnutt’s 'West of Rome' such is its elegiac feel. There’s a duality at work in many of the pieces; that childhood sense of inquiry mixed with dread; the beauty of the forest contrasted with the darkness of its depths. The tracks are beautifully crafted, but at times aching with melancholy or drenched in the cold perspiration of a child lost in the woods. 'Ship in a Bottle', for instance, is almost unbearably beautiful. This is an album of surprises – even the third time through, I was finding twists and turns that I hadn’t previously noticed –and one that I would recommend without reservation. Pär and Jenny sign their press release thus: "We don’t have a clue what our next album will sound like." Now, that I do believe.

Track Listing:-

1 Iron Train
2 Wild Escape
3 She's A Ghost
4 Reed Organ Song
5 Ship In A Bottle
6 Telekinesis
7 Up In The Air
8 Tiny Wings
9 Mysterious Grace
10 One Of Those Nights
11 Love Is All
12 Mountain Bells

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