Everything All The TIme
By: Eric Greenwood
Band of Horses' jangly twang is borne of heartache and hope- a wistful, atmospheric blend of weathered country blues and insurgent indie rock. Columbia native Ben Bridwell's voice is slathered in reverb, and it floats above a den of shimmering guitars. Neil Young has met Mr. Bridwell's turntable on more than one occasion, but the influence is proudly displayed, not smugly intoned. His soporific songs alternate between a mid-tempo sway and a slow, gritty rock. Both he and Matt Brooke are alumni of Seattle, Washington's Carissa's Weird (sic), whose fetishistic sad-core met an untimely end in 2003, allowing the duo to kick up the beats per minute, if only slightly.
Everything All the Time is an astoundingly seductive debut. Its elements will not be unfamiliar to fans of The Beach Boys, Palace Brothers, the aforementioned Neil Young, or even R.E.M, but Band of Horses manages to sidestep the trappings of regurgitation by producing songs that sound genuinely inspired. The chimey, arpeggiated undulation of the shrewdly-titled "The First Song" allows Bridwell to showcase his impossibly high-end, crystalline voice, which pushes the languorous music to peaks and valleys it otherwise wouldn't reach.
There's just enough clanging dissonance in "Wicked Grill" to offset the infectiousness of Bridwell's cadence. The music is certainly catchy, but not in a this-is-the-chorus kind of way. The arrangements are more spread out; the hooks are more subtle. Once the heartbreaking majesty of "The Funeral" kicks in you're a goner. It's one of those songs that just floors you the moment the guitars surge. Chills, hair standing on end, the works. It's a passive aggressive anthem of stoicism and restraint with lyrics that wield as much power as the music. When Bridwell ekes out "at every occasion I am ready for the funeral", his voice betrays a level of insight you just can't fake.