Friday, October 05, 2012

ramshackle crew with something to prove

Mirage Rock 
- Band of Horses

Mirage Rock makes me miss Band of Horses.  There are just enough touches of the original scruffy indie folk-rock band in Band of Horses' latest album to make me nostalgic for everything that I loved about them when they first blew my mind with 2005's Everything All The Time

Nobody wants to make (or hear) an album that sounds just like the previous albums, of course, but with Mirage Rock, Band of Horses sounds like a band struggling to define itself.  Granted, when a band has had as many personnel changes as Band of Horses, sustaining any continuity of sound must be a challenge.

Mirage Rock has a promising beginning, with the lead track Knock Knock delivering a punchy raucous anthem punctuated by some infectious drum work. Throughout the album, there are moments that channel the spare earnestness of Band of Horses past, but sadly those moments aren't sustained. And then there's a song like Dumpster World, which is really kind of cringe-worthy, with shouted lyrics like "break out everybody in jail, let's get it on" and "don't pick up that trash, put more of it on the ground".  It's just perplexing.

A bonus disc entitled Sonic Ranch Sessions has a loose and rambling sound, not entirely unexpected from a band that's kicking back and using up some session time. The bonus EP is fine for what it is, but it didn't particularly do anything for me.

Mirage Rock harkens back to 70's country-rock, and not in a particularly good way.  I kept thinking that I was listening to the Eagles.


John Mutford said...

When a band you're excited about releases a less than stellar album it's such a disappointment. I remember feeling that way for the Duhks.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I really liked the Duhks when I saw them at the folk festival a couple of years ago, John. What a shame to hear that.

bloody awful poetry said...

I've never been the biggest Band Of Horses fan, but it is very surprising to have come across hardly any positive reviews for this record. Shame. This year has been quite a musical letdown for me as well - Sigur ros' new release didn't do much for me, just to name one.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That saddens me to hear that the new Sigur Ros album is also less than stellar, BAP. Maybe everyone is taking a gap year.