Two White Horses

by Sarah J.

Who doesn’t love Fridays, right? And what better way to end the week than checking out a new band? In this case, it was Two White Horses at the Mercury Lounge, perfect for unwinding after a long work week.

It’s always nice to see a band that puts a little effort into their presentation onstage–coordinated outfits and all aren’t entirely rare in the post-White Stripes era, but studied indifference is more the norm these days than a solemn approach to the stage with two matching white horse-head cutouts to go with all-white outfits, his an almost militaristic uniform and hers a debutante-fresh white ruffled dress.

Two White Horses are from Sweden, but they don’t sound like any of the recent Swedish imports that I’ve heard, producing instead a dreamy folk-pop with a slight sixties feel but an electronic pulse underneath their deceptively simple tunes.

Siblings Jakob and Lovisa Nystrom trade instruments and vocals, switching places behind the keyboards and taking turns singing in English and French. Her voice is smokier live than on their self-titled record, sweet and sultry, somewhere between Fiona Apple and Feist, and their lyrics are alternately straightforward (Good times are gone forever/gone forever) and witty (So instead of seeing Jesus/She began to see a lot of other men).

They put on the kind of show that you want to sit back and watch rather than stand and dance to, a performance that rests on their dramatic appearance and old-timey look, their sound that manages to be retro without being kitschy and sweet while skirting twee. It’s music for a sunny summer day in the park, even if their outfits and accents evoke Swedish winters instead, and I urge you to check out their record (or their MySpace page) and catch Two White Horses next time they’re on our side of the Atlantic.

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