- 04 Mar 22
Things Aren't Great
You can certainly tap a toe to Band of Horses’ more popular songs like ‘The Funeral’ or ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’ but to these old ears- let me stretch some wordplay far beyond breaking point – this equine combo sound closer to tame ponies than wild stallions. You're always hoping they’ll let go of the reins and make a gallop for the fences.
Things Are Great is a big and shiny modern rock album but it’s got a bridle on its head and a bit in its mouth [It might be time to corral that harras, Pat - Editor]. The opening ‘Warning Signs’ is a good case in point. It drifts close to the sort of mid-paced chug that War On Drugs peddle, as does ‘Ice Night We’re Having’, which I realise might be cause for celebration to some. My contention is that you kind of know where everything’s going before it gets there. Ben Bridwell’s voice, on occasion, calls to mind Wayne Coyne’s, which makes the band, especially on something like ‘You Are Nice To Me’, sound like a less adventurous Flaming Lips.
The middle eight of the single ‘Crutch’ approaches lift-off but then the song pulls back and there’s a similar downshift in gears in the middle of ‘Tragedy Of The Commons’. If someone told you the closing ‘Coalinga’ was an old Coldplay number, you might believe them when the backing vocals come in, which is a horrible thing to say about anybody, and I apologise profusely. It’s left to ‘Lights’ as it emerges from a feedback hum to offer some hope. It’s got a memorable call-and-response chorus and the overdriven Neil Young guitar figure stirs the blood.
The band have spoken of this as a return to the raw ethos of their earlier work but if anything it’s a bit overcooked. It’s not that it’s ‘bad’ per se, and it’ll probably sound better live – I’ve yet to see them although I hear they’re well able - but a bit more grit and kick would have helped immeasurably.
- Live Review
- 17 Oct 22