Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Band of Horses, Everything All the Time

The first thing you are going to think is this: “My Morning Jacket rip-off! They’re just jumping on the MMJ bandwagon!” Well, your first mistake would be in thinking there is a bandwagon behind MMJ. Ain’t gonna happen, my friends.

Your second mistake would be thinking that Band of Horses have co-opted the MMJ sound. Not so. I mean, there is the reverb thing. Everything All the Time is drenched in soggy reverb. In my intergalactic travels through the universe, I have never heard a record so wet (except on the last MMJ record). And certainly, the vocal style bares more than a resemblance to Jim James’ folk-y/Neil Young-ish warble. But once you swim past the reverb, you begin to see the wide variety of musical influences here.

Shoegaze-y guitars are featured prominently throughout the record, while most of the vocal melodies find their origin is the underground psychedelic rock of the 60s, a la the Shins. The jangly guitars of “Weed Party” make me think of R.E.M. and Tom Petty. The angular riffs on “Wicked Gil” could be found on any Strokes/Franz/etc. record today.

But by far the two stand-outs on this album are the majesty of “The Great Salt Lake” and the haunting riff and chord progression of “The Funeral.” Both songs feature incredible dynamics that make you forget all about MMJ. Lyrics like, “At every occasion I’ll be ready for the funeral,” hint at a deep sea of longing that could make Band of Horses great song-writers for a long time to come.

Download “The Funeral” from or from Free Radio Sub Pop podcast on Itunes.

Band of Horse-sized Dogs


Tim said...

Here is my problem with this post ALIEN...You say, "Your second mistake would be thinking that Band of Horses have co-opted the MMJ sound." But then, according to your opinion, list two things (the reverb and vocal sound) that sound like MMJ. I would add the comment that the sub-genre (on this particular song at least) of alt-country (or maybe alt-folk?) is the same. What else is there?

I am not MMJ's biggest fan, but I recently re-listened to "It Still Moves" and it rocked me to the core.

Band of Horses isn't bad, but c'mon, it's at least a little derivative.


My flip-flopping was intentional. I thought it might be funny to be contradict myself. Guess not, jerk!

JohnLDrury said...

From my minor sampling of their music, Band of Horses is not derivative but developmental. Sure, there is a MMJ starting point. But there is much new offered beyond what one could find on an MMJ record. Whether it is just a frankenstein or a fresh synthesis remains to be seen. My jury's still out on that one.

Paintings of Horses said...

Actually I never heard nor familiar of their songs, but I would try to look for their songs to listen unto it.