Album Review

Marty Connors
Had I been asked what I thought about Band of Horses before I received my copy of Infinite Arms, my response would not have been overly enthusiastic. It’s not that I don’t like the band, I own a copy of Cease To Begin and enjoyed it, but I just didn’t have terribly strong feelings either way toward them. I went back and re-listened to Cease To Begin before digesting Infinite Arms, and my feelings hadn’t changed much. It’s a good album, I enjoy most of it, but it just doesn’t grab me the way that I know it has other people.

Which is why Infinite Arms has taken me by surprise. It isn’t that Infinite Arms is a vastly different album than Cease To Begin, but that what is on Infinite Arms is executed more confidently and successfully.

Compare the opener to Cease To Begin, “Is There A Ghost,” with the opener from Infinite Arms, “Factory.” The former opens with an echoing guitar line while singer Ben Bridwell's voice carries over it. It's almost a full minute until the rest of the band enters the song. “Factory,” however, begins with a small drum-roll, and then an orchestral melody enters that is repeated throughout the song. Certainly, “Is There A Ghost” is the more upbeat and “rock” sounding of the two openers, but, for me, “Factory” is a much stronger opening. That beginning melody has been stuck in my head since my first listen.

I'm not usually the type of person that latches onto a lyric right off the bat either. I usually absorb the actual music before any words stick in my head. But, there are sections of this album that seem like a perfect melding of words and music. For example, when Bridwell sings “The Midwestern sky is gray and cold...” on “Blue Beard,” it's hard for me to imagine any way that lyric could be framed any better, with the vocal harmonies lilting in the background.

Overall, this is a strong album from Band of Horses. The harmonies are enjoyable, the songs catchy (I dare you to not enjoy “Dilly”), and the marriage of lyric and music is perfect. Band of Horses have crafted a confident album, showing they know exactly where their strengths lie. As I stated earlier, it's not a vastly different album than Cease To Begin, it's just that I'm a slow learner.