By: Derek Jung
Derek: For a band that started in Seattle, Washington, I've always thought that Band of Horses' sound would be more at home in the southern back country, rolling over the calm Appalachian mountains. The band burst on the scene in 2006 with their debut album Everything All The Time which included the indie Pandora Station staple "The Funeral". And while at the time I thought the band would ride the reverb-infused, folk-rock wave like My Morning Jacket, to whom they've frequently been compared, Ben Bridwell and gang have trail-blazed their own path during the last decade. Their previous two albums saw an attempt at writing more straightforward, accessible indie rock, but for the most part they weren't been able to repeat the blockbuster level of success that they saw on their first two albums, including my personal favorite, 2007's Cease To Begin.
Their new album, Why Are You OK, sees a return to form for the band, with over half of the album harking back to the band's earlier distinctive style of grandiose, dreamy, full-sounding indie folk songs. Album opener "Dull Times/The Moon" begins like a foggy dream, gliding over its first four minutes and lulling us to sleep while Bridwell softly sings "Home is where the heart/ home is where you are" as if this was what he was dreaming about. The second half of the song explodes into one of the strongest hooks on the album, as if Bridwell finally woke up from his stupor. This balance of old and new is critical to the flow of the album. Lead single "Casual Party" is a good example of a song that stylistically is more like their recent albums, yet works because it fits into the overarching sound of the album.
I think I'm one of the only people who disliked the cameo by Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis on "In A Drawer", whose backing vocal doesn't blend well with the song, but I can understand what they were going for (nostalgia, etc.). Generally, I think the song as a whole just fell flat.
If this is the balance that we're going to see from Band of Horses, I think they've hit the best medium that they possibly can.
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here.