Band of Horses – Why Are You OK
Band of Horses released their fifth studio album earlier this month with hopes of recreating the success they had with their Grammy-nominated album Infinite Arms. Why Are You Ok is a frustrating mix of great moments sadly drowned out by the wash of effects that run throughout the majority of tracks. These drones and reverberations are murky, blending with each other to cover the simple melodies of much of the music.
This is a typically “indie” album, with twangy guitars, heavy drums and lyrics about the tribulations of love, the sound of which draws upon aspects of the Kings of Leon but also MGMT. It gets off to a dull start, with the appropriately titled Dull Times/The Moon, however, this gives way to the much more promising choppy guitars and quick tempo of Solemn Oath, which provides an upbeat and interesting change. The album continues disparately, splitting between solemn and peppy, allowing aspects such as the opening riff of In a Drawer the space and difference to stand out. This warm and intriguing guitar line is just one of several examples of the simplicity of the instruments allowing for the emergence of true skill.
The influence of southern American rock and country is blatant in only a few tracks, the most noticeable of which is Throw My Mess, a bouncy and catchy track later in the record. However, as with many of their other songs, including the In a Drawer introduction, the initial attraction of the music and the instruments becomes masked by the effects running in the background. Why Are You Ok doesn’t seem to really hit its peak until the penultimate entry, where Barrel House provides the melodious full sound that we’ve only previously heard snippets of. This track allows frontman Ben Bridwell’s vocals to finally be truly heard; whilst in many other tracks they sound removed, here they swell engagingly to the satisfying guitar-based accompaniment.
Band of Horses and Why Are You Ok have a lot of positives, and in moments this album has beauty, sorrow and joy. It is such a shame that these elements are often diluted by overzealous production.
Why Are You Ok is released on 10th June 2016, for further information or to order the album visit here.
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