Artist: Band of Horses
Renee McMahon Band of Horses at Bumbershoot 2008.
Album: Infinite Arms
Release Date: Today, May 18
Rating: (Skip, Stream, Buy) Skip
Download: Hear the whole album at BandOfHorses.com
On Band of Horses' 2006 debut, Everything All the Time, vocalist Ben Bridwell howled through tracks like "Funeral," "Monsters," and "St. Augustine," as if he could not exorcise his body of the songs fast enough or far enough from him. There was an urgency and intensity to the record that was invigorating, and earned the Sub Pop band an early spot near the top of the indie-rock pantheon.
Two records and a major-label deal later, Infinite Arms is a paint-by-numbers rock record devoid of all the excitement of Everything. What we're left with is a collection of uninspired adult-contemporary fare (not to be confused with the inoffensive, well-executed adult contemporary catalogues of the Counting Crows/Shelby Lynne variety). Bridwell has been known to deliver even his hushed numbers with fire -- see Everything's "Part One" -- but Infinite Arms is full of obligatory, milquetoast efforts--the sad strings on "Factory," the lifeless harmonies on "Dilly"--that sound like they were issued from a man who's run out of ideas and inspiration.