TRACKING: I Break Horses - "Denial"

SOUNDS LIKE: Washed Out, M83, Purity Ring

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: A considerably more pop-friendly tune than anything on their stellar 2011 debut album Hearts, but just as dark in subject matter.

Sweden’s I Break Horses’ debut album Hearts was a wonderful exercise in new shoegaze, a computer-generated powerhouse that also had beautiful moments featuring actual instruments, such as the album’s best tracks, “Wired.” It was certainly not what you’d call a warm record; even “happier” tunes like “Winter Beats” seemed to have their back turned to the listener, making your toes tap but never inviting you in.

Things get a little warmer on I Break Horses new single, “Denial,” at least at first. Maria Lindén and Fredrick Balck manage to create a song which starts out lovely, but then lays enough disconcerting synths and eerie lyrics beneath the happy surface to inspire unease. (A keyboard part borrowed almost note-for-note from fellow Swedes the Knife’s “Silent Shout” helps increase the tension.)

While there’s no word on when we might expect the band’s sophomore album, it’s clear that they’ve expanded their sound, and this is a great teaser of things to come.