Songs from This Album
Album Reviews: Everything All the Time by Band of HorsesThere's nothing better than the total shock of an amazing record that comes out of left field; and the "where did this band come from?!" Google searches you're compelled to perform to satisfy your hunch that this band must've changed their name... there's no way this is a debut. Sure enough, Seattle's Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke formed Band of Horses after ten years as the backbone of Carissa's Wierd.
It's clear from the opening wall of guitars on the album's appropriately-titled first track, "The First Song," that this is a band that had an extensive record collection in the early '90s. The influence of dreampop and shoegazer favorites such as Galaxie 500, The Ocean Blue, Slowdive and Swervedriver can be felt throughout the album's tight 10 track, 36-minute span. Unlike other dream pop bands, they don't over-indulge themselves as musicians. The songs are tight, focused and powerful instead of tired and sleepy, atmospheric and beautiful but with a punch in the gut. The delivery on standout tracks "Wicked Girl" and "The Funeral" have the spirit and intensity of mid-'90s Chapel Hill heroes, Archers of Loaf. Which isn't too shocking considering Bridwell is in his late 20s and grew up in the Carolinas.
Bridwell's voice may remind (and possibly annoy) some fans of fellow Pacific Northwesterner, Doug Martsch (Built to Spill). His voice may be limited, but it is in and of itself a uniquely tuned instrument that soars...and despite the lyrical subject matter, never mopes or whines. This is a band having fun while gazing at their shoes, as evidenced by the opening "Yee-haw" to the stellar fire-up track, "Weed Party."
Despite all the comparisons, this isn't a band aping the sounds of their predecessors. Their sound and their songs are as refreshing as the Pacific Northwest air that flows through their lungs. Let the hyperbolizing begin: "best debut album since ___"; "best new band since ___". You won't be finding a better name than Band of Horses to put in those blanks this year. - Doug Kamin
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