Band of Horses have announced their sixth studio album and their first record in more than five years, Things Are Great. Sonically the album is a return to their earlier work and the kind of raw ethos that lies at the heart of Band of Horses.
This time around Band founder Ben Bridwell took a bigger role in production than he ever has previously, producing or co-producing every song on the album. He brought in old collaborators including Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, Dave Fridmann, and Dave Sardy, but it’s not just old friends who were able to help Bridwell achieve the sound he envisioned. For the first time he worked with engineer Wolfgang “Wolfie” Zimmerman. The two had an instant connection which can be felt throughout the record.
Emotionally intense, both on a personal and elemental level, the songs for the most part were written before the world shut down, when all of us were faced with our own mortality and began to take stock of our lives. Here we find Bridwell more autobiographical than he’s ever been on record detailing the nebulous frustrations and quiet indignities of relationship changes and what a person will do to make things right. And what you do when you can’t.
There might be no other band that was able to channel the generational anxiety of 20-somethings in those early millennial years and turn it into such powerful and inclusive art. Band of Horses fashioned gorgeously ragged epics, Ben Bridwell’s high-flying vocals and eccentric enunciation floating like a specter over sweeping soundscapes that felt like prelude to a dream. The songs always veered between two points: dark and light, strength and vulnerability, apathy and devotion, hope and despair, but hope always nosed a little ahead.
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