Flirting with techno, 'Chiaroscuro' is sharper than I Break Horses' 2011 debut 'Hearts'
‘Chiaroscuro’ is the contrast of light and dark in art or literature. Sweden’s Maria Lindén plays with these shades on her second album, recording mournful songs using the brightest possible synth-pop sounds. Her 2011 debut ‘Hearts’ had the drift and shimmer of shoegaze, but ‘Chiaroscuro’ is sharper, even flirting with techno on the densely layered ‘Faith’ and handclapping electro on ‘Denial’ as Lindén tries out all the electronic styles of the 1980s. Through the darker passages of ‘You Burn’ or ‘Berceuse’ she’s a softer Zola Jesus or a less forbidding Planningtorock, and when she finds a big chorus on ‘Weigh True Words’ it could be Chvrches. Lindén holds her own in that company.