Band of Horses CD reviewed by Troy Brookins

Music Reviews
Band of Horses CD reviewed by Troy Brookins
Oct 9, 2007, 04:05

Band of Horses - Cease to Begin


Possibly one of the most anticipated records of the year, the white-hot Band of Horses deliver their sophomore release with plenty to get worked up over which was no easy task considering how much attention their debut garnered. Folks lucky enough to catch their handful of summer shows received a taste of Cease To Begin, but that was just a tease. Fully realized, singer/songwriter Ben Bridwell has crafted a fitting follow-up that should please even their most diehard fans while catching the attention of legions more. There's not a single soft spot to be found.

While there have been a couple of departures since Everything All The Time, most notably Mat Brooke, it's clear that this has been Bridwell's band all along. There's no sense of loss or longing on Cease To Begin, not to take away from the other members, it's Bridwell's vehicle and he knows how to make the most of it. He's taken a band that critics amusingly likened to a blend of The Flaming Lips and Crazy Horse and created a sound that transcends petty comparisons. Cease to Begin is one of those records that immediately grabs your attention with the opening track “Is There a Ghost” and continues to pull you in with layers of atmospheric Americana that's neither here nor there. Wayne Coyne could only dream of creating something so rootless and ethereal.

Cease To Begin grows with each listen, riding on the powerful beauty of Bridwell's vocals. There's something pure in that voice that immediately grabs you and sits you down for a listen. Musically, it's a lighter affair that adds warmth and cuts through the dense layers found on Everything All The Time making each listen more pleasurable than the last. It's more relaxed and complete than the debut, adding more sound reason why you shouldn't listen to the handful of bullshit blogs that have labeled this record a failure. Yes, “Funeral,” “Wicked Gil” and “The Great Salt Lake” are great songs, but just to rely on the same delivery is inane and pointless. Cease to Begin is the complete package that deserves your immediate attention. To deny this would just make you an asshole. [Sub Pop]

-Troy Brookins

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