Band of Horses Puts Some Real Rock Into Their Indie Rock Style on New Album Things Are Great

4.3 out of 5 stars

I would think most people who like rock music have heard of, listened to, or been a fan of Band of Horses by now, but I will say that I am not an avid listener of their stuff. Maybe because they came to prominence at a point in my life where I wasn’t listening to the radio much, or maybe because I thought their sound was a bit too mellow for me at the time. Who really knows.

But what I can say is that their new album Things Are Great is pretty damn good. Is it going to be an album I pump every day of the year or anything? Probably not, but that’s just because it has to compete with the universe of music I have already instilled into my routines. 

What I will say is that this album deserves a lot of attention as it is a great middle ground between bands like Jimmy Eat World and the Shins to other more retro bands like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles (of course, everything sounds like The Beatles to some extent, because they made every type of rock music).

The first two songs on the album kick off with a bang with “Warning Signs” and “Crutch” and there is a part in “Warning Signs” that actually got me thinking, “Damn, that is a pretty rocking section that would be rad to see live”...it comes up around the 2:57 mark of the song.

Tragedy of the Commons” is the third song on the album, and it is a lot more of the indie rock style I am more familiar with from the band. More clean guitars, slower tempo, and more of a wavy sound overall.

I actually really like the song “In The Hard Times” as it has a feel of bluesy rock like that of The Black Keys (their upcoming touring mates), but with a Band of Horses twist. The lyrics are pretty poignant for how friendships and relationships can be shattered when the going gets tough for one of the people. “‘Cause you deserted me in the hard times,” seems like a pretty spot on line for people who have been left jaded from a so-called friend.

Some of the songs are a bit vague lyrically that I can’t quite get a sense of what lead singer Ben Bridwell is trying to specifically talk about. One of those songs is “Aftermath.” While the overall concept seems somewhat clear - the subject is dealing with some bad event - it is unclear if that event is related to the lyrics in the song or not, because it seems to sort of jump around a bit. It seems like too meaningful of a song to be unclear.

Lights” is a pretty upbeat and rocking song as well. The guitar riff that comes in and out throughout the song is a pretty rad bending riff that gives a classic rock sound injected into a modern rock song.

Ice Night We’re Having” seems to be a personal vengeance song for Bridwell who seems a bit alienated from their friends and family (and likely strangers) in Washington - where the band originated from but relocated to South Carolina - and the new life they live in a much different type of social environment in the Southeast. It’s probably the most interesting lyrical story of the whole album, in my opinion.

The first 5 songs or so seem to fly by, but the last 5 songs are a bit longer and seem to drag on, and that’s probably my only real gripe with the album is that by the end, I was thinking to myself, “Even though this is only 10 songs long, it probably could have been just 8 songs long.”

Overall, a really good album, and I am glad I decided to go back in and listen to a band that I have passed up too many times before.