Music Reviews
Everything All The Time

Band Of Horses Everything All The Time

(Sub Pop) Rating - 6/10

The dust has settled a little on Band Of Horses by now. The internet has become quite proficient at creating an 'essential' band in a matter of days, and the Seattle-ites' debut had exactly that initial impact. But: it's had a chance to worm it's way into the hearts and minds of the bearded hipster parade by now. Well, to a point: this is a by no means flawless album, and certainly doesn't warrant some of the more ecstatic reviews it's received, but it is a solid piece of work with a couple of genuine flashes of genius.

It's been remarked of Band Of Horses that if they stuck to electric guitars, they'd have a great record, and there's some truth in that. Ben Bridwell's somewhat Farrell-esque vocals are a little distracting even on some of the big numbers, but on the quieter, styled Part One, for example, they are a genuine problem. It's not to say that there isn't emotion and pathos and beauty there, because there is, but at the same time... there's no other word to use than 'whiny'. He's got a whiny voice. Even over the sumptuous electric chords of The First Song it's kind of annoying, and if you're the type to find this a problem then the album is going to grate pretty quickly.

However, if you persevere with Bridwell and Band Of Horses, you might just come to love it. Take opener (duh) The First Song, for example. It's slow and grand, with huge arpeggiated chords and giant guitar slides. The vocals, high and almost pure, soar above the band, and the slightly nonsensical - or at least obtuse - lyrics seem to go hand in hand with the country/rock stylings. We're not talking the Eagles here, just to clarify; we're talking Neil Young when the mood takes him rockwise.

Where the album peaks, though, is lead single The Funeral. This will have been most people's introduction to the band, and it's almost certainly what has given place to their rapid ascendancy, because The Funeral is a phenomenal track, and a contender for single of the year. It starts off with echoing, high, picked notes before Bridwell joins in with a vocal line that perfectly complements these, both in timbre and content. Just over a minute in, and the world crashes down around you; I can only imagine that live, this is one of those genuine goose-bump moments, a song redolent of that great artistic tradition of memento mori, of death and longing, that is so transcendent and vast, so beautiful that it bears repeated listens and encourages more. An album full of The Funeral's would be looking towards future classic status in the same way as the Arcade Fire's Funeral is.

However, an album full of The Funeral's is not what Everything All The Time is. The Great Salt Lake approaches this song's epic, pregnant pauses, but little else manages. Least of all the acoustic songs, which, to me, just don't fit the Band's strengths, neither does the yeehaw hoedown'n'roll of Weed Party, neither does the fairly weak vocal harmonising that occurs on occasion. So Everything All The Time turns out to be somewhat disappointing and frustrating: flashes of wonderful genius and talent are tampered by a collection of weak songs and filler. Which is a shame, because if Band Of Horses could tap the inspiration of certain songs on their debut, they'd have a monster on their hands. Close, but no cigar.