Band of Horses

by Matthew Jones, SUNY Cortland, April 30, 2008

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When you and your friends take Friday off and have a three-day weekend to camp in the woods, Band Of Horses’ new album Cease To Begin is your soundtrack. Ben Bridwell, Creighton Barrett and Rob Hampton are called Band Of Horses and they bring a unique take on alternative rock. With less than four years and only one full-length album under their belts, this Seattle trio has put together an album that is extraordinarily different from anything else being released lately.

“Is There A Ghost” is the first track and immediately makes you want to listen through the entire CD. The lyrics repeat themselves four times, but that’s the only thing repetitive in the song, the music perfectly fits the feel of all the things Bridwell and Co. are trying to tell you. “Ode To LRC” is the second track on the record and has more of a groove that makes you tap your toes the second it kicks in. It slows in tempo but not in feel about a minute and fifteen seconds into the song. “No One’s Gonna Love You” is somewhere between the first two songs. Despite the song title, Bridwell is telling someone that no one’s going to love her more than he does. “Detlef Schrempf” follows “No One’s Gonna Love You” and despite the song being named after a Seattle Supersonic, there’s no punch line. It’s probably the most heartfelt song on the record and it really makes you feel like you know Bridwell because he puts his heart on his sleeve in this song.

“The General Specific” takes a step away from the reverb-filled halls of “Is There A Ghost” and goes towards a song that could be on the “O, Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack with an unplugged guitar, a western harmony, and a straightforward drumbeat. “Lamb On The Lam (In the city)” is a short interlude that is basically the definition of the band’s sound. “Islands On The Coast” makes you feel like you’re on a plane that’s taking off and explodes into lyrics that assure you that “When islands want to coast/Islands want to coast/They’ll know how”. This song is Creighton Barrett (drums) at his finest and the rest of the band plays on the same level throughout the song.

“Marry Song” brings you back to the same feel as “The General Specific” and is Bridwell requesting the world to not take things for granted. “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands” is the perfect mixture of “Ode To LRC” and “No One’s Gonna Love You” putting this song as one of, if not THE best song on the album. It has a different structure with snippets of lines that eventually form mind-blowing verses. “Window Blues” winds the album down to a very slow but purposeful ending.

Vocals – 8/10
Guitar – 8/10
Bass – 8.5/10
Drums – 8/10
Lyrics – 9/10
Creativity – 9/10
Overall – 8.4/10

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