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The album sets out floating on dreamy waves that have no real business on a rock record. Ben Bridwell's vocals are so high pitched they border on whining. But the track is really just there to set the scene. It's by contrasting with the opener that the record finds its groove. Hell, they couldn't even think of a good name, calling it "The First Song." Might as well have just used "Amuse-bouche." When "Wicked Gil" kicks in with its pulsing riffs, it sounds like Swervedriver by comparison.
Band of Horses was founded by Bridwell and Mat Brooke in Seattle when their previous group, Carissa's Wierd fell apart. I knew very little about that band, but must say I'm not sad to hear that they are no more. The obvious highlight on the record is the catchy single, "The Funeral." The song did so well on the indie circuit that the band had problems dealing with the success. Leveraging off the rampup of the first three tracks, "The Funeral" is meant to be ironically positive, and the music is downright triumphant. You can't ignore this song. It would have been fine if they had made that the record's centerpiece and left it at that. But every tune that follows brings its own importance. These are songs with some weight. Despite the ambiguous lyrics, they somehow matter. Well, maybe not "Weed Party" but it's fun enough that you can forgive its levity.
The ebbs and flows of the album pass quickly (it's only 36 minutes long) and we arrive at the end way before we're ready to be done listening. I have always been a sucker for harmonies, perhaps because I can sing along with my mediocre voice. In quiet moments, the vocals resemble echoes of one another. It's a unique sound that gets deep into my head every time I hear it. "St. Augustine" in particular will stay with me for days on end. Unfortunately after this release, Brooke left the band and even though the subsequent records are solid in their own ways, they haven't captured that subtle soul since. Everything All The Time remains both a testament to their collaboration and in heavy rotation on my stereo. I don't expect that to change anytime soon.
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