Band of Horses are back in the saddle
Get your lighters out. Band of Horses are bringing their country-tinged rock to Bellahouston Park. Ryan Drever traces the path that brought them here.
Upon forming in Seattle in 2004, Band Of Horses hit the ground running. After landing an early break supporting Sub Pop stalwarts, Iron And Wine in 2005, South Carolina native Ben Bridwell – along with former ‘Carrissa’s Weird’ bandmate Mat Brooke, Chris Early (bass) and Tim Meinig (drums) – caught the label’s attention, later releasing their first recording, the aptly titled, ‘Tour EP’.
The band’s debut album, Everything All The Time, was releases in 2006 to a slew of positive reviews, scoring high on many a music critic’s end of year list. Mixing Bridwell’s ethereal, reverb-laden vocals with swathes of thick, enveloping guitars, and a strong country/Americana influence, praise for the album snowballed, drawing comparisons to Neil Young, My Morning Jacket and The Flaming Lips. First single, ‘The Funeral’ took the band’s popularity to unpredictable new heights though, gracing every film, teen drama, sitcom, talk show, computer game and commercial it could get its anthemic hooks into – with several other tracks such as ‘Monsters’ and ‘Part One’ following in similar footsteps – a trend that was to continue through later releases.
Relocating to South Carolina shortly after, this success was soon eclipsed – barely a year later – by the group’s second album, Cease To Begin. Building on the sound cemented by their first effort, Cease To Begin was a solid body of work in its own right, spawning a host of equally lighters-in-the-air tearjerkers such as ‘Is There A Ghost’, ‘Detlef Schrempf’ and ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’. After intensive worldwide touring, where they brought their soaring, melancholic rock to T in the Park, Glastonbury and Roskilde, the band took their collective foot off, and regrouped for what was to be a fairly quiet 2009.
Now sporting a revised line-up of Bridwell, Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey, Bill Reynolds, and Creighton Barrett, the group began work on their third LP later last year, recording across the US, from the Mojave Desert to Alabama. The result, Infinite Arms (released last month on Columbia) marks a significant creative shift for the band, with Bridwell relinquishing sole control over the writing process and the band taking up DIY production duties. Inspired by their own wanderlust, as well as Bridwell’s foray into parenthood, the record continues the country-tinged anthemic rock of its predecessors, and perhaps more than ever, fits the ‘Americana’ banner so often hung on the band’s sound. However you want to label it though, Infinite Arms, having finally breached the Billboard top ten – as well as entering the UK top 40 for the first time – marks a high point, and probably a commercial breakthrough moment, in an already intense ride for Band Of Horses.
For those who missed BOH at 2008’s T In The Park, this rare appearance in Glasgow alongside the UK’s own anthemic chart-botherers Snow Patrol – and the always excellent Frightened Rabbit – is unmissable – whether you’re a recent convert, or just want to hear ‘The Funeral’ blasted across Scotland’s biggest city on a summer’s night.