Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin

Band Of HorsesWord of mouth and press coverage suggest that Band Of Horses might be the next band to do a crossover. That is, convert their underground appeal into a wider audience. Just as groups like The Shins and Decemberists before, Band Of Horses have already recorded an acclaimed début album, Everything All The Time, last year. Ben Bridewell and Matt Brooke formed Band Of Horses from the ashes of their former band, Carissa’s Weird. But Brooke has split from the group meaning that Band Of Horses is now simply a solo project for Bridewell and his expansive country rock. Listening to this album reminds me of fellow country-rockers My Morning Jacket, especially when it comes to Bridewell’s distinctive reverb-ed vocals.

But unlike MMJ, Cease To Begin is a fairly restrained album; instead of letting the songs expand and fly off into the sunset, Bridewell manages to reign in the songs and make a much stronger album as a result. The songs have that rare quality of sounding instantly memorable, but not catchy if you get what I mean. There’s just something that grips me about a song like “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands” and “Is There A Ghost”. Especially the latter with it’s minimal lyrics and it’s shimmering and soaring guitar sounds.

The term country rock is maybe a bit misleading as only “The General Specific” sound like it’s “real country” with it’s clacking drums and carefully plucked banjos. Cease To Begin is a tight and focussed album, squeezing ten tracks into it’s 35 minute running time (shame the pleasant instrumental “Lamb On The Lam (In The City)” couldn’t be extended into a full song). “Mary Song” and “Window Blues” slow the pace down, but that means that the album isn’t one-paced throughout. I’ve only been listening to Cease To Begin for a couple of days, but it’s already a grower; the slower tracks are sounding more appealing and the louder, more anthemic tracks are sounding better and better.

Band Of Horses – Is There A Ghost:

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