Band of Horses have a special place in the hearts of most 20-something year olds across the world. Songs like The Funeral and Noone’s Gonna Love You still have that uncanny knack of making us feel all introspective and sentimental. Listen to The Funeral right now and tell me you don’t wanna call everyone you ever loved in a fit of tears. Their first two albums Everything all the Time and Cease to Begin are deadset indie rock classics.
So 10 years on from their debut, how have Band of Horses held up in the indie cred stakes? Infinite Arms had some delightful moments, but 2012’s Mirage Rock felt forgettable from first listen, and it felt like Band Of Horses were quickly making the transition from everyone’s favourite alt-country band to just another alt-country band. The memorable had become the mundane.
Why are you ok for me and surely for many others sits somewhere in between. Whilst early BOH was custom fitted for arenas and candle-lit singalongs, songwriter Ben Bridwell on his 5th studio album seems content with writing songs from a much more comfortable place. Whilst some might consider this album meandering at times, there is a real effortlessness to the lyrics and instrumentation that in the end makes the album all the more endearing. When you accept the fact that there won’t be another Is there a ghost on this album, it quickly becomes apparent that the now father of four Bridwell is simply writing for himself. And quite regularly throughout the album, this humble approach works wonders. Sure, sometimes it comes across as a bit ‘billiards room dad rock’, but more often than not, it hits just the right spots.
TRACKS YOU’LL LOVE
Wherever, Whenever- Beautiful, stripped back goodness, highlighting Bridwell’s unique croon. Simple is best.
Dull Times/The Moon– Band of Horses get all ‘experimental production-y’, with de-tuned guitars, voicemail messages and about 4 songs in one. Come get all your Band of Horses in one tasty package.
Barrell House- Bridwell delivers his best Neil Young style ballad with Barrell House-an insight into Bridwell’s downtime- a real ‘make you feel things’ track. Get your blanky and crawl into a cuddle for this one.
WORTH ADDING TO THE COLLECTION?
Writing the album in between school drop offs, you can’t help but feel this album was Bridwell at his most relaxed and to a certain degree, at his happiest. He’s not writing for you, or the radio stations, he’s just putting it all out there, for better or for worse. It’s not going to be your favourite album, but there is enough on there to perhaps get you excited about Band of Horses again. Which in a world where being ‘different’ and kooky is everyone’s modus operandi, it’s certainly refreshing to have Band Of Horses back in our hearts.