Horse Jumper of Love
Horse Jumper of Love
By: Sumner Bright
“It’s a complicated lock,” Dimitri Giannopoulos of the Boston-based Horse Jumper of Love sang delicately. It’s how I would describe searching for what it is about this slow, contemplative group that makes their abstract imagery, rooted in nostalgia, so effective.
The last time I saw them perform was a sold-out show at the Great Scott in Allston, and now they’ve added one more member, and were just as concise and emotive in the much smaller performance space of Sun Tiki Studios. Accompanied by the similarly introspective acoustic musings of Lisa/Liza, and the ambient psychedelia of Tom Hamill, it was a bill that felt just right.
HJOL has a unique ability to carry their intensely pensive music through impressive highs and lows; some songs, like “Poison,” the first single released off of So Divine, stay in the same brooding pace for their entireties. Others, like “Volcano,” carry everything they make their own into auditory explosions formed by fuzz and furious screaming. It’s this ability I cite when making the case that they are one of the most emotionally poignant bands around right now.
Their setlist was almost identical to the tracklist of their new album, So Divine, released June 28th, and as a long-time fan, I loved that about the show. They maintained the back-and-forths their LPs have with loud then quiet; indicative of emotional volleys any listener can ascribe themselves to.
When they’re not performing, they’re a quiet group with minimal stage banter, something that I don’t think anybody would complain about. They show up, speak their genuine appreciation, and get right into what they came there to do, letting the music speak for itself.
When I saw them perform as a trio, I was impressed at their ability to fill out their sound and thought to myself that they may never need a fourth member. Thankfully, I was dead-wrong, because their new guitarist/keyboardist/tambourine-slayer rounded out moments in their performances perfectly. I try not to use that word all too much, but the punches that their louder moments had, contrasted with their quiet moments, were entirely just that: Perfect.
They ended their brief set with “Ugly Brunette”, one of their most popular songs from their 2017 self-titled debut. I couldn’t help but listen, with my own sense of nostalgia, and be astounded at the fact that this band climbed their way to the top of Boston’s massive DIY/house show scene, but never let themselves change because of it. If anything, they became truer to themselves, and truer to their ability to place memories in their listener’s heads that are so shrouded, they are universal.
“I am not going anywhere,” Giannopoulos screamed at the midpoint of “Volcano.” I disagree.