Band of Horses- Everything All The Time
Written on June 25, 2012
Stylistically, Band of Horses’ debut album, Everything All The Time, is quite perplexing.
On the surface, the album sounds like a nice collection of stylistically similar songs that all flow together, but upon repeated and closer listens, the album removes its camouflage of coherency, and it reveals itself as an extremely diverse collection of songs that range from pure folk rock, to alternative folk rock, to upbeat southern alternative rock, and there’s even a song that could have easily fit in on any old 50’s style cowboy record.
Band of Horses is an indie rock band with some clear folk elements. As a result, they are often incorrectly just lumped in with other indie folk rock bands; however, their sound is actually quite different and much more diverse than just simple folk rock. Whereas many of the new-wave folk rock bands stick primarily to acoustic instruments, Band of Horses’ sound is often powered by Ben Birdwell’s electric guitar, which gives the band a much harder edge than most traditional folk bands. Birdwell also has lead vocal duties, and the combination of his guitar and his versatile vocal delivery really drive the band’s sound.
As for the songs, the first half of the album is made up of what I would call alternative folk rock songs and one pure folk rock song (“Part One”). All these songs are good, but the true standout song of this group is “The Funeral,” which was the band’s main single from the album, and it earned them their first national television performance on Letterman in July of 2006 (Click here to listen to the The Funeral).
The second half of the album consists of a pair of upbeat southern alternative rockers (“The Great Salt lake,” and “Weed Party”), and a pair of straightway pure folk songs (“Monsters,” and “St. Augustine”). Structurally and stylistically these two types of songs are very different, but Band of Horses somehow puts them together like putting together two puzzle pieces that weren’t cut to go together, but somehow still fit.
Finally, there’s also “I Go To The Barn Because I Like The,” which is reminiscent of an old 50’s style cowboy song, and to go back to my puzzle analogy— if each song on Everything All The Time is a puzzle piece that forms a complete picture, “I Go To the Barn,” was taken from a completely different puzzle than the rest of the song pieces, but it still fits into the picture perfectly, and it is one of my favorite songs from the album. The combination of the instrumentation, lyrics, and vocals absolute register with me on every level.
Read the lyrics below and listen to I Go To The Barn Because I Like The
“Well I’d like to think I’m the mess you’d wear with pride/ like some empty dress on the bed you’ve laid out for tonight/ maybe I’ll tell you sometime/ time/ sometime/ and you were right/ right/ you were right/ outside by your doorstep/ in a worn out suit and tie/ I’ll wait/ for you to come down/ where you’ll find me/ where we’ll shine/ oh”
Returning to my opening comments, I’ll re-phrase them and say that Everything All The Time should be stylistically perplexing because the band plays several different styles of music that typically wouldn’t fit together, but because Band of Horses is able to swaddle every song so tightly in their own unique musical blanket, all the songs are held together coherently and perfectly balanced.
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