Band of Horses – Mirage Rock

January 01, 1970

(Columbia)

 

www.columbiarecords.com

 

A lot has
changed since the Band of Horses’ ace debut Everything
All the Time
back in 2006. Band members have come and gone and leader Ben
Bridwell up and moved the band from its home base in Seattle
to his childhood home of South
Carolina. It was there that they recorded the
terrific 2010’s (Columbia
debut) Infinite Arms. It’s always
been tough to categorize the band’s music (Is it country? Western? Rock?), which
is a compliment to the band on the strength of its songs and Bridwell’s vision.
Which leads us to 2012 and Mirage Rock.
On this, I hear a country rock band.

 

Recorded by Glyn
Johns (The Eagles, etc.), he was apparently brought in to rein in the band’s
excesses (excesses which completely worked, I might add) of Infinite Arms and lasso a back to basics
approach. Which he did do, but the songwriting – all but one of the 11 songs on
here were either written or co-written by Bridwell – takes a bit of a dip on
this one. Oh sure, the first few songs are pretty good but that’s it, just pretty good and there’s no “Factory’ or
“Laredo” on
here. Punchy opener “Knock Knock” lacks the killer hook of an opening song, but
they nearly make up for it on the second tune, the more laid back “How To
Live.” Song three, “Slow Cruel Hands of Time” could’ve been off David Crosby’ hazy
If I Could Only Remember My Name, while
“A Little Biblical” is a bouncy pop number showing off the band’s sense of
humor. A few of the songs, namely “Shut In Tourist” and “Dumpster World” place
them squarely in former labelmates Fleet Foxes’ vein of layered, harmony folk
and “Electric Music,” one of the best songs on here, sounds like it could have
been straight off an Eagles record (hey, it is Johns producing, after
all). 

 

Of the remaining
songs, the gritty “Feud” packs a nice punch while the spare, cello-laden,
acoustic “Heartbreak on the 101” closes things out wavering between dramatic
and whimsical. It’s obvious Bridwell is in this for the long haul so this is just
a bump in what hopes to be a very long road

 

DOWNLOAD: “How to Live,” “A Little Biblical,”
“Electric Music,” “Feud” TIM HINELY

 

 

 

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