Band of Horses – Mirage Rock
Since relocating from Seattle to the American Midwest to record 2007’s joyous Cease to Begin, Band of Horses' song craft has come to reflect the sextet’s geographical and social shift, with a more subdued, countrified lilt taking hold. Their fourth LP develops this idea to the point that, at times, they sound plain horizontal.
Rambling, folksy ditties like Shut In Tourist, the woozy Iron & Wine-aping Dumpster World, and the honky-tonk swing of Electric Music all provide some good, clean fun – conjuring the image of Ben Bridwell and co high-fiving, group hugging and generally seeming, well, perhaps just a little too happy.
In direct contrast, Bridwell's recurring chant of “I want you to fail!” on stand-out Feud lets out a little vitriol, whilst lead single Knock Knock – an uncomplicated nod back to their roots – thunders in with a story about “a ramshackle crew with something to prove.” It's only a slight reminder of their former glory.