July 25, 2010

Band Of Horses - Infinite Arms (2010)

I think the most laughable part of this post is how I eagerly emailed Awmercy and Nightrain weeks ago asking for dibs on this review... don't I feel every bit the fool now?

Let's call a spade a spade. Infinite Arms is a spectacular disappointment and errs on the side of caution. Perhaps they didn't want to disrespect their fans, but playing it this safe only insults my ears considering I finally saw BOH play last summer in San Diego and they managed a tight, exhilarating, and incredibly fantastic set. Then last month they performed a secret show at Grand Central Station in NYC where a flash mob of people went to hear their latest and greatest. My friend and I were refused at the barricades due to full capacity and douchebag AOL employees who didn't seem to care that I was going to "write a strongly worded letter to their publicist at Sub Pop" if he didn't let us in. Of course, it may have carried a little more weight had the guard heard of Sub Pop Records before, let alone Band of Horses. I blame the riots that occurred weeks prior due to a Drake and Hanson outdoor show (yes, you read right) at South Street Seaport for their unnecessarily rigid security measures, but now I feel they ended up doing us a favor denying us entrance. Thanks, Deputy Douchebag!

Apart from beard rock anthem "Laredo" and the unabashedly cutesy "Dilly," I can't quite say I've got my finger on the pulse of what these otherwise stellar musicians were setting out to accomplish. Plus, the title track sucks. Isn't that supposed to be "the best" track on the album to begin with!? This album is nowhere as exciting as their debut Everything All The Time (2006) with the country leanings, or the respectable sophomore release Cease To Begin (2007). Arms just falls... flat. Especially the vocals, which are nowhere as haunting, resonant, or nearly as spirited as in previous efforts. This record overall isn't even a lateral move for these guys; if anything, it seems like they've regressed a tad in their song-writing capability. I haven't lost complete faith that they cannot come back with something all kinds of awesome, I just hope they get their act together before they become musical castaways banished to Has-Been Island. Nothing really stands out, nothing grabs my attention or elicits any kind of visceral reaction that I've come to expect, plus there are songs that seem to end abruptly before anything really happens which only confuses and irritates me. Sigh... has Band of Horses sold the farm? Are they riding off into the sunset of oblivion for good? Should we take them out to pasture and... well, you know the rest. Cover your eyes folks, this ain't gon' be pretty.

Here's "Laredo," perhaps the standout track on an otherwise nondescript follow-up:


Mona said...

Okay, so I kind of love the album art. I had to find at least one complimentary thing about this record or else I'd feel really mean! Phew.