It’s taken a couple of weeks for me to sit down and write this article. I am not entirely sure why it has become vogue to discount the work of Band of Horses but for what it’s worth, and it may be very little, it seems to me that it is a symptom of the same wretched conformity and bullish scare tactics that people tend to sit around complaining about for years after graduating high school.
The band released their new album Why Are You Okay on June 10th, about five weeks after its lead single “Casual Party” was released in April. If one were to believe everything they read on the internet, they would be convinced that Ben Bridwell is little more than a small programmable android whose only inspiration comes from the producers of his albums. Which is as sad and sadistic a thought as it is misleading and uninformed.
Reviews like Cohen’s above do nothing for music fans and serve little more than to create a distressing double-think mentality about artists. The irony is ultimately that his review is exactly the “populist, mundane [review] that tack on their idiosyncracies in post-production in post production like Instagram filters” both in terms of tone, attitude and word choice.
The album itself is actually quite good. It’s not a challenging, world changing album by any stretch of the imagination, but it holds its own against a vast majority of the music being released today.
Why Are You Okay is full of the shiny guitar hooks and straight-forward rock that have become a staple of Band of Horses’ sound of the years. And like every album the group has released in the past, holds hidden gems beyond the radio friendly jams that people tend to, and quite rightly, associate with Band of Horses.
In this case, the track “Throw My Mess” unashamedly wears its country roots and is this albums answer to Mirage Rock’s Ramsay penned “Everything’s Gonna be UnDone.” Check out this stripped down live version recorded less than a month ago and try to review the obvious joy and enthusiasm these guys have for the music they are making.
Band of Horses begin touring on June 28th and are playing The Sound Academy on November 3rd, one of only two Canadian dates, the other being August 20th at Vanvouver’s Orpheum Theatre.