Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Everything All the Time by Band of Horses

Band of Horses, a new indie collective formed from the Ashes of Seattle underground heroes Carissas Wierd, popped up this year with their debut record, Everything All The Time, and since then, the critical adulation has been incessant: featuring heavily on many end-of-year best of lists, along with glowing comparisons to My Morning Jacket and Neil Young.
All that being said, I'm quite clearly about to attempt to debunk all of that, so I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like this record. I did, it's very good. But, quite frankly, I don't understand where all this ejaculatory praise is coming from. Everything all the Time sounds to me like a second rate Shins record (a second rate Shins record still being superior to a great deal of music by lesser mortals), with vocalist Ben Bridwell sounding just a bit too much like James Mercer, not just in sound quality, but grammar, sytax and inflection. The same jivey, energetic rhythms abound, without many of the more wistful flourishes The Shins are known for.
EATT, though, is not without its own neat touches. Everything's a bit, well, heavier, and there are some really terrific songs, not least of which is the oh-so-indie-anthem 'Wicked Gil', which would not have been out of place on My Morning Jacket's 2005 epic, Z.
But the greatest sin committed by these guys is that they're just so, well, damn INDIE! The opening track is called 'The First Song', in one of those self-referential, 'oh, we're way too cool to come up with a song title because indie bands are all about the MUSIC, man'.
Dig it.
Good on Band of Horses for making a really good record. But let's keep our penises in our pants, otherwise every time a bunch of guys who like to strum electric guitars like they're acoustic and back it with a banjo come along, we'll be caught in the trap of anointing them saviors of some long-forgotten form of music that no-one previously gave a fuck about anyway. And then we'll be NME.

3 1/2 stars

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