Across The Atlantic #1 - Band Of Horses
In my mind at least America, in the last few years, has produced some of the most ambitious and varied music I've heard in a long time. They seem to have the ability to just go ahead and do it, no messing around with pandering to record companies or obeying rules and fashions. As we send our army of skinny white guys with guitars over the Atlantic to try and complete the great quest of "cracking America", I thought I'd take some time to start a series of articles looking at bands and records that are going to be coming our way from the USA.
First up is Band Of Horses who, having difficulty in using the band name Horses, decided to name themselves after a website. How very post-Modern! These guys could quite well be labelled the next My Morning Jacket - the vocals are drenched in reverb that would make Jim James run to the hills. But instead of sounding like a glorified tribute band, they've decided to fuse more rock than country to proceedings.
The opening track on their debut album Everything All The Time comes across all Cocteau Twins; great swathes of guitar that it's only until the vocals kick in do you realise you're listening to something perverting the norm. The standout tracks on this album The Funeral and The Great Salt Lakes are epic slices of American rock - not full on Americana or Country-rock, just rock. The chiming guitars and pounding drums wrapped in the reverb vocals create these epic scenes in your mind that could only be conjured by the vastness of the USA. Sure Weed Party is a complete Springsteen rip off, but it's forgivable as it sounds like the band had so much fun recording it. That's not to say that this is an entire "balls-to-the-wall" rock album - St. Augustine is a beautiful and sparse ballad, nothing but an acoustic guitar and vocals - they have a sensitive side too!
There's always pressure on bands like this to be "The Next Great American Rock Band" and maybe they will, but one things for sure, they're going to enjoy themselves in the process.