Band of Horses

Cease to Begin | Sub Pop
By MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG  |  October 30, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
inside_BAND-OF-HORSES---CEA
Much has changed for Band of Horses and their mercurial frontguy, singer/guitarist Ben Bridwell, since they quietly released their debut album, Everything All the Time, in early 2006. They’ve relocated from Seattle to Bridwell’s native South Carolina, said goodbye to co-founder Mat Brooke, and welcomed two new members — and, of course, they now carry the burden of expectations after Everything (thanks mainly to the celestial “The Funeral”) became an indie hit. A couple of things remain the same on Cease To Begin — primarily Bridwell’s voice, a high, pinched warble in the tradition of Neil Young, the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, and Built To Spill’s Doug Martsch. The epic, tempestuous guitar jams of Martsch’s band, in particular, seemed a big influence on Everything, but here Band of Horses limit the bombast, opting mainly for unruffled rock with a back-porch-country lilt. In other words, no “The Funeral Part 2,” save maybe for rousing opener “Is There a Ghost” or the stately “Islands on the Coast.” Yet there’s much beauty in the modest moments: the gentle, dreamy guitars in the ballad “Detlef Schrempf,” the Uncle Tupelo–ish tumble of “The General Specific,” and the instrumental interlude of “Lamb on the Lam (In the City),” which sounds like the Cure lost in the Appalachia.
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