Bell Horses debut album is a leftfield pop outing from Xian Hawkins & Jenny Owen Youngs. The 8 songs that make up the album create a world of contrasts that are both challenging and familiar. Arrangements blend acoustic instruments (guitars, piano, strings, percussion) with synthetic textures and samples while vocals sit up front in the mix, but then often double as instruments themselves. The subtle attention to detail reveals more with each listen. This Loves Last Time is a record about the infinite and the finite – things that cease to be but linger all the same.
The name Bell Horses is taken from a turn of the century children’s song about horses passing in the night, strung with bells so as not to collide. It’s an apt analogy for the working methods of the group whose members all live in different cities. Instrumental and vocals tracks were emailed back and forth taking the creative process on an indirect route. Various parts of the album were tracked in Brooklyn, Berlin & London – with the majority of the music being recorded, arranged & mixed by Xian Hawkins in a converted Victorian Church in Western Mass. This Loves Last Time succeeds as it becomes more than the sum of the individuals involved – all of whom have projects of their own.
Xian Hawkins records as Sybarite - making distinct & lauded electronica for a variety of labels - most notably 4AD, Temporary Residence & Ghostly International. Jenny Owen Youngs is a singer songwriter who signed to Nettwerk Records in 2006 and recently released her sophomore record, Transmitter Failure, to critical acclaim. Also on the album is Alexander Ericson, contributing vocals to three of the tracks. He was the lead singer in Swedish alt-rock band The Northern Territories & has gone on to play with Alberta Cross (ATO) & make solo records under his own name.
Other participants include Michael Lerner, drummer for NYC band The Antlers (Frenchkiss), who adds additional percussion to the songs Still Life & The Comb. Classical string player Eve Boltax brought her considerable violin & viola talents to much of the album, while Dan Romer, Jenny’s chief collaborator on her own records, recorded & engineered all of her vocal contributions. This Loves Last Time was mastered by Denis Blackham (Brian Eno, Cocteau Twins) at Skye Mastering in Scotland.
UK artist Rick Myers designed the sleeve - he has done covers for the likes of Doves, Dinosaur Jr. & John Cale, among others. Photographs were taken by California artist NoeleLusano. The album is the first release on the band’s own Trysquare label, with high quality downloads distributed by Division 68.