Album Review

Infinite Arms

Infinite Arms

by Band Of Horses

9 / 10

Reviewed by Karyn Cushen

Tender, heartfelt and comforting are three words I would use to describe Band of Horses’ latest release, Infinite Arms. Sixteen months in the making, this album clearly signals a distinct shift in sound for this North Carolina five-piece, embracing atmospheric Americana in place of the lo-fi indie rock that dominated their well-received previous releases, Everything All The Time and Cease to Begin.

The album asserts its new influence immediately, as the first track, ‘Factory’, opens with a dainty drum roll and a delicate string arrangement. This seamlessly segues to the tender, honey-smooth vocals of Ben Bridwell, which simply melt over the accompanying melody. This track has instant appeal with its beautiful builds, catchy riffs and slow tempo, but is quickly juxtaposed by the slightly increased pace of ‘Compliments’, the first single off the album and a throwback to the previous releases. The album, more or less, continues in this alternating fashion, with the tempo barely exceeding a medium pace.

The leisurely time signature of Infinite Arms highlights the extent to which Bridwell has grown in confidence and advanced as a vocalist, as his undeniably smooth, Neil Young-esque vocals drive the harmonies track after track, especially in ‘Blue Beard’, ‘Infinite Arms’ and ‘Evening Kitchen’. Similarly, the band in general have produced a fuller, richer, almost back porch sound, through the layering of brass and string arrangements, and even nature sounds in ‘Infinite Arms’, throughout their compositions.

While this slow tempo may not suit every Band of Horses enthusiast, I think it is a welcoming, refreshing change in a market saturated by soft indie rock. My advice: if it doesn’t grab you instantly, be patient, it is well worth the wait.

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