When Swedish duo Next Stop: Horizon arrived in 2011 with their debut album, We Know Exactly Where We Are Going, their theatrical, bombastic sound drew comparisons to everything from Tom Waits' bellowing growls to David Lynch's art house nightmare films to the dizzying sounds of the cabaret. On record, the band is comprised of fiery singer/multi-instrumentalists Jenny Roos and Pär Hagström, though they were joined by other players in live performance. Their 2014 follow-up, The Harbour, My Home, continues in the style of their debut, switching gears almost song to song but keeping the same smoky, late-night-at-the-carnival feeling going throughout the album. Opening with the slow-burning, blue-eyed gospel crawl of "Something Rare and Something Fine," the song churns along on a bed of laid-back drums, skeletal organ, and understated lines from a horn section. This gives way to the upbeat push of "Rain on Me," a howling song of hardship and retribution fueled by handclaps, spacy echoes, and a bounding chorus. As the album goes on, Next Stop: Horizon employ a bevy of unexpected instrumentation on their often traditional rock or Eastern European folk-influenced tunes. Strange sounds pop out of the corners of moody ballads like "A Heart for Gold" and slinky percussion-fests like "Gonna Get It Back" alike, the latter sounding like a bizarre outtake from Bone Machine-era Tom Waits. The album loses steam around the halfway point, but there are plenty of highlights to make for a solid sophomore effort, especially in the more daring orchestrations and hookier choruses.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas