Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
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Band Of Horses
Everything All The Time

Band Of Horses were formed out of the ashes of long-running orchestral pop band Carissa's Wierd (yes, the misspelling was part of their name). Guitarist/vocalist Ben Bridwell and bassist Mat Brooke joined up with a couple other fellows to form this soaring, country-tinged indie rock band that have a lot of things in common with My Morning Jacket.

There are a couple reasons for the above comparison, and they're both fairly obvious. As mentioned above, the group has a bit of a country feel on some of their tracks, but it isn't twangy. It's closer to the big-sky sound, with lots of slide guitar and echoing notes that ring off into the distance. Additionally, singer Bridwell's vocals are mostly completely drenched in reverb, and while his somewhat tremulous voice (which actually reminds me a bit of James Mercer from the Shins in places) doesn't sound as silky as that of Jim James, the resemblance is still there.

Saying they're exact copies isn't fair, though. Everything All The Time was recorded by Phil Ek, and despite the layered, shimmering production, the album still has that sort of loose and sometimes bordering on ragged feel that seems to come out of the upper Northwest so often. Aptly titled opener "The First Song" bursts out of the gate with powerful guitar chords intersected with delicate plucks while Bridwell adds his soaring words. The follower "Wicked Gil" is one of those tracks that rumbles with a more rough edge, and it stands out as one of the better tracks on the album, with punchy verses offset by lofty choruses.

Even though it's a hair overlong, "The Funeral" shows the group at the peak of their powers, mixing spectral, fragile moments with absolutely thunderous sections, including a rock-out finale that's as efficient and powerful as The New Year. As an album, Everything All The Time is a bit front-loaded, piling on one woozy track after another while in large part the latter parts of the album are content to keep things at a ballad's pace (and a lot less payoff). I hate to keep harping on it, but fans of My Morning Jacket will most likely love this release, and I'm sure those who followed Carissa's Wierd will want to hear what half of that band has been up to since calling it quits.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2006-03-23 20:04:43