album: so divine - horse jumper of love
words: indigo baloch
So Divine is the glorious return of Horse Jumper of Love, and it arrives just in time to replenish my vinyl (considering I just about wore their last, eponymous album down to the bone). This album brings in the same cosmic dissonance of the first, carrying you to some ethereal tangent universe where everything is seen through a crystal lens. Think of that scene in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet where they’re looking through the aquarium at each other—but the fish tank is a lava lamp full of maroon and rust-colored glitter. And you’re sitting there, in a cloud of smoke, sorting out the shapes with your soulmate, like you’re making up constellations.
Or, as “Airport”, the first track on the album suggests, it could be the somber, languid murmur of a flight home—the tired slugging along of a passenger plane full of bored and sleepless eyes. It could be the soundtrack of a grey day—sky full of clouds, but not yet raining. Though it gradually grows into a full thunderstorm of sound.
The weary tempo of “Airport” and the next few songs—“Volcano” and “Cops”—lull you into the temper of a cat in the sun, tail tapping against the windowsill slowly, lazy with heat. It’s like watching one of Agent Cooper’s visions of the Black Lodge—but instead of the backwards-speak it’s just the coded, ominous lyrics—seeming more like incantations than songs. We lay in our beds at the Great Northern and stare at the ceiling and try to make sense of it all—through the tears, through the shadows.
Meanwhile~ “Aliens” gives us the twinkling hum and whirr of being a Mars rover—being truly out there in the celestial world, the calmness of silver moon dust swirling past.
The swinging metronome of “Poison” offers the eerie, unsettling feeling of walking into a stranger’s living room to find home videos of you as a child playing on a busted, old television set—bunny ears, dusty dials, and all. It’s unnerving, but familiar and your body and mind are too slow with the poison pouring through them to really react efficiently. So you sit cross-legged, rocking back and forth, on the grimy carpet—a map of stars made from cigarette burns—and you wait. And you sink into the floorboards. And you sink into the next track.
“Twist Cone” is a quick and sparkling dream sequence before a drop into “Ur Real Life” which bops with the seesaw beat of “Poison,” but all the verve and excitement of a playground swing-set—pumping your legs harder to soar higher and closer to the sun—letting go of the chains and flying out into the lush grass. Feeling the green on your skin and running back for another manic round of being a human pendulum.
The hypnotic softness of “John Song” and “Stray Dog” bring back some of the tenderness of their last album, with all the strangeness and dreaminess of it as well. It’s like that final scene in Donnie Darko. Some of us wake up laughing. Some of us wake up crying. For some of us, it’s a hazy dream, and for some of us, it’s a haunting memory of an experience we’re not sure even happened at all.
The album begins to bow out with “Nature”—whose marching rhythm is the determination of tumbling over knotted roots and jagged stones in a deep forest, during a drizzling rain shower, aiming for some peace at the center of it all. And “Heaven”? It’s just a short, sweet whisper of farewell before the album goes silent.
As any work by Horse Jumper of Love is wont to do, it’ll leave you lying in some moonstruck field of dew-soaked grass, looking up at the confetti of stars; wondering where all the meteors have gone, if they think of us too, and when, if ever, they’ll be coming back to us.