released May 18th, 2010
from the album - Factory
from all music
Emerging in 2004 with a woodsy blend of midtempo rock and reverb-laden vocals, Band of Horses gained an audience in their native Northwest before Everything All the Time made them indie rock darlings. Multi-instrumentalists Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke founded the group after an eight-year run with Carissa's Wierd, and an early concert alongside future labelmates Iron & Wine caught the attention of Sub Pop Records. Sub Pop signed Band of Horses in 2005 and reissued their self-released EP later that year, while the band retreated to the studio to record its full-length debut. Everything All the Time appeared in March 2006 and was warmly received; however, Brooke did not tour in support of the album and had officially left the group by July, choosing instead to devote his time to another Sub Pop act, Grand Archives. Nevertheless, Bridwell soldiered on with now-permanent bandmates Rob Hampton (bass) and Creighton Barrett (drums), playing stateside shows and touring Europe in support of the band's debut.
The bandmembers returned to the States and relocated to Mt. Pleasant, SC, to be closer to their families. Soon after, Band of Horses entered the studio with producer Phil Ek (who also helmed Everything All the Time) to record their sophomore album. Cease to Begin was released in October 2007 to extremely warm reviews; it also peaked at number 35 on the Billboard charts, giving the band a taste of commercial success as well as critical approval. Although Band of Horses spent most of the following two years on the road, they also found time to return to the recording studio, where they began working on a third album in 2009. This time, the band's five members all contributed to the songwriting process, making Infinite Arms a collaborative effort between Bridwell, Barrett, and new members Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey, and Bill Reynolds. The album hit shelves in mid-2010, its release coinciding with a national tour as Pearl Jam's opening band.
Featuring a new lineup, an open-ended definition of Americana, and the backing of a major label, Band of Horses’ third album is a game changer. What began as a partnership between Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke has since blossomed into a five-piece band, with Bridwell serving as the only link between the group’s 2006 debut, Everything All the Time, and the present. It’s only natural, then, that Infinite Arms sounds wholly different from the albums that came before it, both of which mixed guitar-driven rock with dusty, jangled folk. There’s still plenty of folk to be found here, and Band of Horses bang their way through “Compliments” as a concession to their rock fans. Infinite Arms is a borderline pop album, though, dressed up in flannel and facial hair to disguise the fact that these melodies are, with few exceptions, the sweetest of the group’s career. There are harmonies galore, simple fifths and thick, Sacred Harp-type chords that beef up Bridwell’s vocals while drawing parallels to Fleet Foxes and the Beach Boys. At times, it’s hard to separate Band of Horses from such influences; “Blue Beard,” although downright gorgeous, cops its verse from Smile-era Brian Wilson and its bridge from the Starland Vocal Band, and “Older” is the country-rock single Gram Parsons never wrote. But the album’s willingness to sample from so many different genres -- roots, soft rock, alt.country, power pop, indie folk -- makes it sound like nothing else in 2010, and Band of Horses connect the dots by layering everything with canyon-worthy reverb and cinematic guitars. For those who let it sink in, Infinite Arms could be a contender for the year’s best summer album, not to mention the band’s most cohesive album to date.
1 Factory Bridwell 4:35
2 Compliments Bridwell 3:27
3 Laredo Bridwell 3:12
4 Blue Beard Barrett, Bridwell, Monroe ... 3:22
5 On My Way Back Home Bridwell 3:28
6 Infinite Arms Bridwell 4:08
7 Dilly Bridwell, Ramsey 3:31
8 Evening Kitchen Ramsey 3:57
9 Older Monroe 3:28
10 For Annabelle Bridwell, Ramsey 3:06
11 NW Apt. Bridwell 3:01
12 Neighbor Bridwell 5:58