Sound — 8
Band of Horse's sophomore effort finds itself plugging into different roots for novel results. Their style is still definitely recognizable; lush, chord heavy songs with smart lyrics and singable, ambient melodies. The progression is more of a sidestep rather than a step forward, but that's not necessarily a bad thing considering the quality of their debut Everything All The Time.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are, in a word, simple. The invigorating opener, Is There A Ghost, repeats, "I could sleep... When I live alone, is there a ghost in my house?" Another noteworthy song regarding lyrics, Ode to the LRC, summarizes ideas and feelings through simple analogies. "there's a dog coming here to eat now; Which dated back to 1993; I don't care what the people say 'cause; That dog he don't come around here anymore; No, no the dog is gone, the dog is gone." While the lyrics are effective and sometimes clever, it is often difficult to make out what is being sung due to the style of singing. Think of The Shins singer with a stronger accent and you will have something close to the Band of Horses' frontman. This didn't bother me however because the singer has a great style. Just look at the track, "Cigarettes, Wedding Bands", which is quite possibly the best BoH track next to "The Funeral". "Dead folks in the clouds are crying out loud; While they lie la lie, they lie la lie, while they lie."
Overall Impression — 9
While it's not a distinct improvement over their previous effort, it definitely demands a listen for anyone interested in folk rock. If you aren't going to buy this, a few tracks that you should download are: "Ode to LRC", "No One's Gonna Love You", "Islands on the Coast", and "Cigarettes, Wedding Bands." The only dud on the album is "The General Specific". I'm almost certain I can hear a scraping washboard and a bottle in the song, yikes. If this album were lost, I would definitely buy it again. It's one of my personal favorites in laid back rock.