ALBUM REVIEW: “Infinite Arms” Band of Horses
Band of Horses
On their major-label debut, Band of Horses seem torn between being the southern-leaning indie rock band we all know and love and a more mainstream-friendly alt-country band. Sadly, they have all but abandoned the expansive guitar sound that used to be their hallmark, and Infinite Arms lacks the musical punch that worked together with Ben Bridwell’s honest, aching vocals to make their first two albums so powerful.
The album starts out strong, with the sweeping, strings-enhanced “Factory” and first single “Compliments,” a mid-tempo stomper that shines due to gorgeous vocal harmonies and memorable lyrics pondering the existence of God. Other highlights are the mellow, lovely title track; “On My Way Back Home,” a delicate strummer pushed along by rattling percussion; and the closing piano ballad “Neighbor.” Otherwise, we’re left with a few well-harmonized but forgettable slow songs, some confounding pop rock (“Dilly”) and catchy but generic twangy rock (“Older”), as well as a couple of good-but-not-great rockers that sound like retreads of other Band of Horses songs (“Laredo” and “NW Apt.”). Considering the band used to be so sure of itself and its sound, it’s hard not to think of Infinite Arms as a surprising and largely disappointing sign of an identity crisis.