Band of Horses hugs the line between modern, jangly indie and more traditional roots rock. They aren't the first to try this fellow Sub-Poppers the Shins as well as My Morning Jacket are fellow travelers. But the songwriting is straightforward if not original, and Ben Bridwell's bright, booming voice cuts through the airy production at an angle close to familiar. Neil Young is obviously the group's hero. But that doesn't mean they're worshipping him. On Everything, the songs are at once despairing and joyous, as if adaptable to your every mood. The anger-stained verses of "Wicked Girl" lead up to a chorus filled with promise, whereas bass guitar motors the indie throwback "Our Swords." Further on, there's "Funeral," one of the album's thorniest tracks, where the opening's plaintive air gives way to Bridwell wailing over bursts of instrumentation. It's calculated, but effective: Though Band of Horses can suggest both their peers and their influences, they manage to make their own sound graspable. And the softer elements of Everything help, like the acoustic "One" or droning, elegant closer "St. Augustine." Befitting a group that morphed out of slow-core-ish Northwesterners Carissa's Wierd, Band of Horses do moody and meaningful very well.
Saturday, June 10 at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward, Detroit; 313-833-9700 with Mt. Egypt and the Can't See.
Cory D. Byrom writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].