Band of Horses Opens Infinite Possibilities

Posted: May 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Articles About Music | Tags: | 1 Comment »

After nearly two and a half years in the making, Infinite Arms reveals some noticeable advances in Band of Horses’ already expanding creativity.  Appropriately, the five-piece group took this creativity and ran in new directions.  Just before the release of their last album Cease to Begin, the band relocated from Seattle to lead singer Ben Bridwell’s native South Carolina; and this new physical direction inevitably brought about new musical directions.  Band of Horses has abandoned their catchy indie folk roots for a more wholesome Dixie drawl.  Their third album carries a brooding – almost homely – feel to it.  Written by Bridwell in a cabin in the Minnesota wilderness, the dozen songs making up Infinite Arms fluctuate between nagging sadness and giddy hopefulness.

A look at perhaps the worst track of the album, “Evening Kitchen,” ironically displays just how far this band has come.  The song is at best heartfelt and at worst just mediocre, not necessarily skippable though; this speaks volumes of how much effort Band of Horses has thrown into this one release.  The songs with the most country influence include “Factory,” “Older,” and “Neighbor.”  The Southern undertones strangely seem to add to the songs’ quality instead of taking away from it.  Clear splits from the widespread melancholy are “Dilly” and “NW Apt.”  These tracks keenly echo the group’s alt-rock origins, forming distinctly optimistic breaks.  One song sticks out for odd reasons; it is a bit difficult to take “Blue Beard” seriously when the polyphonic breakdown sounds too much like the hilarious Anchorman rendition of “Afternoon Delight”.  The all-important best song though is a tossup between the first single, “Compliments,” and the title track, “Infinite Arms.”  Although the former is catchier and better written, the layering techniques and genuine nature noises throughout the latter show telltale signs of higher production skills and focus.

Formerly insulted as “Fleet Foxes plus reverb,” Band of Horses can now claim a truly unique sound.  Any listener can hear in this new sound a heightened love for nature.  These five men are no tree huggers, but with their move to the South came a deep harmony with all things outdoors.  The fact that the band assigned a separate Chris Wilson nature photograph and hand-drawn illustration for every single song exhibits their fresh attention toward image and detail.  With focus and natural talent comes amazing results.  Although not infinite, Band of Horses’ abilities will take them far.

One Comment on “Band of Horses Opens Infinite Possibilities”

  1. 1 Lance Newsom said at 9:35 pm on June 16th, 2010:

    FYI – Did you know that the entire lineup, minus Bridwell, of Band of Horses is new? Of course, Bridwell is and has been the driving force of the band, but the new lineup surely accounts for some of the “audible changes”. I think this one is more of a slow-burn rather than the in-your-face indie-deviance of the former two.