October 16th, 2007 17:10 EST
Band of Horses Album Review
Review of indie-rock band's new album Cease to Begin
“To say the least it’s been awful hard to just stand on my feet,” claims Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell on their sophomore disc Cease to Begin. There have indeed been some changes for the southern indie rockers since the release of their stellar debut disc Everything All the Time in 2006. Luckily, the shifts in line-up and location have only heightened the band’s ability to create soaring melodies against space-tinged vocals.
The core members of Band of Horses, Bridwell, bassist Rob Hampton and drummer Creighton Barrett, moved back to their home state of South Carolina after living in Washington for a decade. The shift from rain-soaked Seattle is evident on Cease to Begin. On the track “Ode to LRC,” Bridwell emotes, “The world is such a wonderful place,” while singing of the tranquility of a small town.
“The General Specific” and “Marry Song,” with their Gram Parsons inspired vocals, could lead to back porch sing-a-longs complete with hand claps and rocking chairs. However, Cease to Begin is not just an ode to the band’s southern roots. The record also boasts a few atmospheric anthems and beautiful ballads.
Album opener “Is There a Ghost” is one such anthem. Bridwell’s vocals sound as though they are coming from another sphere, and when the rhythm section reaches this galaxy the result is a full force rock ‘n roll tune. The same can be said of the track “Cigarettes and Wedding Bands,” an album standout with crashing guitars and a ready-made sing-a-long chorus.
Bridwell sings, “Things start splittin at the seams,” on the gorgeous and haunting “No One’s Gonna Love You.” This track, along with the romantic and wrenching “Window Blues” and “Detlef Schrempf” shows that heartbreak never sounded so pretty.
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