Album Review – MIRAGE ROCK – Band of Horses

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Sample “Slow Cruel Hands of Time” on You Tube from MIRAGE ROCK by Band of Horses

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Dear Music Appreciators,

INFINITE ARMS is one of my all-time favorite albums. The music, the lyrics, the sequencing of such a consistently interesting and awesome sounding collection of songs – but really it’s the overall feeling and sound of the album I think. There’s just something about that lonesome-canyon-big-starry-sky sound that resonates with me. I think it has a lot to do with the reverb.

That sound is mostly missing from MIRAGE ROCK.

For me, listening to MIRAGE ROCK for the first time was like seeing a favorite movie star without their makeup. It’s the moment of truth. Does the lack of artificial enhancements confirm or deny their star power?

Despite its flaws, I believe MIRAGE ROCK is a confirmation.

Even without their studio effects these guys are still good. Maybe not great, but good. For me here are the most glaring missteps on the record:

-the misplaced hard rock departure during the “Horse With No Name”-ish track “Dumpster World”

-the patches of corny words and music and weak-sauce vocals on “Electric Music”

– not letting Tyler Ramsey just have the vocals on his song “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone” all to himself. Is that Bridwell in the background or somebody else? They need to pipe down a bit and let Tyler Ramsey have his moment to shine.

– the bland instrumentation and monotonous tempo on “Feud.”

This is all forgivable as far as I’m concerned, and with great songs like “Slow Cruel Hands of Time,” “Shut In Tourist,” and “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone,” this is a worthwhile purchase for music fans who want a great little organic sounding country rock record from an increasingly essential American band that isn’t afraid to strike out in new and unexpected directions with every release. But what will the next album sound like? As good as MIRAGE ROCK can be at times, I don’t think anyone will want MIRAGE ROCK Part II…

I for one will want more reverb. And maybe some cow bell.


Constant Listener


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