Shut up. I don’t want to hear about it. I am completely aware of how long it has been. Just deal with it.
A few years ago, I projected Grizzly Bear as the next band with the power to reach dizzying OK Computer-type heights. To be honest, there wasn’t another band that struck me as having that kind of potential.
Now, I would like to apologize to Band of Horses, and pick my jaw up off the ground.
Please hurry up and go to their website: http://www.bandofhorses.com/
Okay, now that you’re there, let’s talk. Band of Horses is most noteworthy for their heartbreaking indie classic single “The Funeral.” I viewed it as powerful enough to be the 13th best song of the past decade. The rest of their first album was filled with similar excellence, landing it at number 27 on my Best of Decade list.
Their follow-up release was arguably better in cohesion and construction. However, Cease to Begin just didn’t have the punch offered by their debut album. The album didn’t really seem a sophomore slump; instead it sounded like a band finding a groove. Well, grooves be damned.
Infinite Arms and the wait for May 18
All three songs that are currently available for hearing on Band of Horses’ website are unexpected, massive and exceptionally crafted. Let’s start with the weakest of the bunch, “Factory.” This tune is the most similar to the rest of the band’s catalogue, offering a slightly twangy feel with a relaxed rhythm. But the orchestration is very surprising, giving a majestic and optimistic tone. The grand scale fits the band with surprising success, and it’s a very inviting song.
But it doesn’t even start to explain how awesome this album might be. Enter the insane duo of songs: “Laredo” and “Compliments.” These are perhaps the greatest songs written in Band of Horses’ career. Yes, that includes “The Funeral.”
“Laredo” first. The opening guitar keys you in right away, sounding like a ringtone, pulling you toward song. Then the whole thing opens up as the drums, bass and voice all start up. Now we hear a song of personal pain, lost love and self-reflection. Some of the lyrics are a bit tough to decipher, but the clear sections are obvious, and the inflection even more so. The musical skill and talent displayed here is extraordinary, far beyond anything the band had previously done.
This leads to the crown jewel of the pre-album material, “Compliments.” This one is seen in video form, and it’s haunting. Bouncing guitars and a pulsing keyboard are refreshing and totally unexpected. Vocal delivery and harmony make this sound unlike any other Horses song, leaving me in total disbelief. By the end of the song, I can’t help but be moved by the vocals even as I am stunned by the whole package.
Quite simply, May 18 will be awesome, and I really look forward to hearing the rest of Infinite Arms as either more is released or the whole album comes out. This may be a contender for best of the year…