Under Review: Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin

There are more than a few striking similarities between Band Of Horses and their label-mates, The Shins. Both have employed Phil Ek to produce every one of their albums, they have a taste for dreamy shoegaze-pop, and almost all of them have beards. The difference, though, seems to be the influence of their music. While The Shins may have listened to British Invasion bubblegum pop in their youth, Band Of Horses’ latest, Cease To Begin channels many roots and Americana acts as well. Sure, there are times when lead singer Ben Bridwell‘s upper-register vocals can sound like Jim James or Wayne Coyne, but the often bluesy music suggests hints of The Band (“The General Specific”), and even American Beauty-era Grateful Dead (the twangy “Marry Song”). While the album is not at all short on infectious pop tunes (“Islands On The Coast” and “Ode To LRC”), the forays into ethereal country ballads are really where the group shines. James Mercer and company may get all the attention, but Band Of Horses really know how to make an album that’s perfect for this time of year.

~ by E. on November 13, 2007.

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