Xian Hawkins and Jenny Owen Youngs might just be the perfect pop experiment. As Bell Horses, they’re a quirky fusion, binding Youngs’ folk affinity, Hawkins’ electro expertise, and a nursery-rhyme-like curiosity.
It’s a collision course—short, otherworldly, and sweet—on This Loves Last Time, the duo’s nine-song debut. And it plays as precisely that: urgent, yet yearning, strung with the tension of an EP. Perhaps the reason is trans-Atlantic. From Brooklyn to London to Berlin, Hawkins and Youngs tracked and mastered the disc. This long distance leaks on the aptly-titled "Headmess," Hawkins’ hesitant self-talk not quite allowing him to keep up with Youngs’ dreamscape vocals.
To the disparate duo’s credit, this catch-me-if-you-can remains a one-time game. They bounce back quickly—forcefully—on the Hawkin’s-led "Photograph." But don’t disregard Youngs just yet. The acoustic "The Storm" easily gains anomalous status among the set, perhaps matched only by the instrumental "Billowing."
Hawkins and Youngs miss the occasional beat—but can we really blame them? When they’re in sync, Bell Horses become a force—a method—to be reckoned with.
This Loves Last Time is out now on TrySquare Records.