Okay, maybe you already know about Seattle's Band of Horses. We've made them "Our New Favorite Band," we've pimped them on press releases, and you've seen the name all over the web. Well, I'm here to push the issue just a bit more. At this moment, today, right now, Everything All The Time (BOH's Sup Pop debut) is my favorite album. At first I just liked it, a lot. But now I can't stop listening. Everyday I rock these ten gorgeous tracks and try to put my finger on just what it is that I love about them. It's not that simple. Well, it is that simple and that's what's so amazing. There's nothing particularly impressive about the individual parts. There's nothing that leaves me asking, "How do they do it?" There's no technical mastery; hell, this is 28-year-old bandleader/songwriter/guitarist/singer Ben Bridwell's first crack at singing, writing, and playing guitar (he was a drummer in his first band, Carissa's Weird). The songs aren't complex or full of massive production. When forced to even try to explain what it is that I love, I am left with intangibles: emotions, memories, dreams, drifting thoughts, and the like. It's the nuances, the subtleties. The way Bridwell's voice is ragged, exposed, and far from perfect. The way the guitar sounds. The way it makes me feel. It speaks to me.
The vocals are drenched in reverb (at times calling Jim James of My Morning Jacket to mind), and the guitars often drown out the words, making it difficult to hear exactly what Bridwell is singing. But that is part of the simple brilliance. We don't need Bridwell (or anyone for that matter) singing at us. We have our own demons, our own hopes and shattered dreams, our own hard-fought experiences that we can call on to give these songs meaning. By wafting a cloudy haze of reverb, crashing drums, and swarming guitars across the landscape, we aren't forced to live through Band of Horses' vision. Instead, we're allowed to create our own world with Band of Horses supplying the soundtrack and backdrop. Whether raging with tension-release on the epic rocker "Great Salt Lake," drifting sadly into the acoustic-laced "Part One," contemplating heartbreak on "Monsters," dumping the bass on "Our Swords," letting loose on "Weed Party," or unleashing the sprawling, disc-defining track, "The Funeral," Band of Horses are constantly walking a tight-rope of delicate introspection and cathartic explosion. It's as if there is no plan and the band is simply following a gut-instinct. Loud-then-soft, hard-then-nice, electric-then-acoustic, dark-then-light - it's the band's ability to balance these dynamics while crafting compelling songs capable of taking the listener away from their daily existence yet allowing them to tie the experience to their own life that makes Everything All the Time a contender for Disc Of The Year.
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