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Cease to Begin

92 customer reviews

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Cease to Begin
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Audio CD, October 9, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Released in March of 2006, Band of Horses debut Everything All the Time made good on the
promise hinted at in their early shows and demos. The band went from early shows opening for
friends Iron & Wine, to playing on The Late Show with David Letterman by July, and being nominated
as one of ten finalists (along with Joanna Newsom, Beirut, Tom Waits, and, the eventual winner,
Cat Power) for the Shortlist Music Prize for that same year. And the record was well-received
critically, with celebratory press in Spin, Entertainment Weekly, NY Times, Harp, Billboard, Pitchfork,
Magnet, NME, Uncut, and a slew of others. Not a bad place to start.
For a lot of reasons, Cease to Begin is the perfect title for this new record. Not only do the
songs themselves weave this theme through the record, but stopping and starting anew is also
a reflection of the past year and a half for Band of Horses. Though they worked with producer
Phil Ek again, as they did on Everything All the Time, much has changed between the fairly
recent then and now. There have been band members who have come and gone, including Mat
Brooke, who left the band to pursue other interests and his own band. For core members Ben
Bridwell, Rob Hampton and Creighton Barrett, there has been a move from Seattle, WA to Mt.
Pleasant, SC, a relocation that had been planned for some time so that they could all be closer
to their families. And, close friends and family have come and gone some far too early. Necessarily
shot through with these experiences, the songs on Cease to Begin are strikingly beautiful, if less
elliptical and more straightforward, with more sophisticated arrangements than the last record.

Band of Horses now rest in the hands of South Carolina tenant Ben Bridwell following the departure of his right-hand man Mat Brooke, who bolted to form Grand Archives following the 2006 inauguration Everything All the Time, and the impassioned Bridwell validates out of the blocks, leading off the follow-up album with "Is There a Ghost," an exquisite chunk of pure-pop bliss. With a voice that lands somewhere between the euphoria of Brian Wilson and the anguish of the late Chris Bell (Big Star), Bridwell (and core mates Rob Hampton and Creighton Barrett) appears a modern archetype behind a playlist that teeters among tender ("No One's Gonna Love Me," "Window Blues"), twang ("Marry Song," "Detlef Schrempf"), and turbulent ("Cigarettes, Wedding Bands," the aforementioned "Is There a Ghost"). Using the same producer and regal m.o. as on the debut, Cease punctuates its magnitude among Sub Pop's top-drawer power elite (The Shins and Iron & Wine), asserting this Band of Horses' fast-rising run for the roses. --Scott Holter
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 9, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,301 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Cale E. Reneau on October 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I feel like a sham. Here I am, calling myself a fan of indie rock, and I'm just now hearing Band of Horses for the first time. All that stuff last year about their debut album "Everything All the Time" winning awards and finding its way on to Top 10 lists had absolutely no effect on me. Granted, I had heard of the band, but I never went out of my way to pick up a copy of their work. In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, I immediately regret this decision. "Cease to Begin" has not only reminded me why I started listening to indie music in the first place, but it has single-handedly revitalized my passion for the genre.

The album begins with the beautiful "Is There a Ghost," in which Ben Bridwell repeats "I could sleep when I lived alone. Is there a ghost in my house?" for the entirety of the song. It never gets old though. The song begins softly, with Bridwell's mesmerizing vocals and a barely-there guitar before the rest of the band explodes onto the track. Chaotic drumming and the steady, rocking strum of electric guitars carry the song to it's unwanted conclusion. On "No One's Gonna Love You," Bridwell's vocals are equally as powerful as he belts out his poignant vocals with the utmost passion. The melody is infectious as well, especially by the time the bridge comes around. Here Bridwell sings, "They could have warned you when things start splitting at the seams. And now the whole thing's tumbling down," and you can't help but be captured by it. It is a finely crafted song, and one of the album's more memorable tracks.

"Detlef Schrempf" takes it's name from the former Seattle Supersonics player.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Last year, Band of Horses released a truly impressive debut album "Everything All the time", containing several instantly classic songs like "The Funeral" and "The Great Salt Lake". Despite pretty much non-stop touring since them the guys are back already with a new album.

"Cease to Begin" (10 tracks, 35 min.) is an equally impressive album. The opener "Is There A Ghost" starts off very BoH-like, only to crash into electric guitars and very up-tempo about 1 minute into the song, bringing the message that these guys have expanded their musical pallet. "Ode to Lag" follows, with equally strong music. The good tracks keep coing: "No One's Gonna Love You" is a great pensive tune, as is "Detlef Schrempf" (yes, he the German former NBA basketball player), and "The General Specific" closes the first half of the album, an exuberrant tune. After a short instrumental, the second half kicks off with a rousing "Islands On the Coast", followed by a great, somber "Marry Song", with superb underlying keyboards. Yet the best is still to come! "Cigarettes Wedding Bands" is THE stand-out track of the album, sure proof how much BoH has matured musically in just a year's time. The closer "Window Blues" is too twangy/country for my liking, and the least interesting track on the album.

"Cease to Begin" is an outstanding album, and equal, if not better, than "Everything All the Time". They have not so much abandoned their early-My Morning Jacket-soundalike style, but expanded on it, to great effect. I've had the good fortune of seeing Band of Horses last year during the "Everything All the Time" tour, and if you have a chance to see these guys in concert, don't miss them, you will be blown away. Meanwhile "Cease to Begin" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sam M. Tannenbaum VINE VOICE on October 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
"Everything All the Time", this band's 2006 debut, was a very strong indie rock album that didn't break much new ground, but did everything right... uh, all the time. The songs are so infectious that it has remained in heavy rotation in my CD player, computer, and MP3 player since I got it.

It is for these reasons that I have greatly anticipated "Cease to Begin", and overall, I'm very pleased with the result. Perhaps I should have waited to run the album five or ten times before reviewing, but... here I am.

First, let me say that there is no equivalent to "Funeral" or "Great Salt Lake", in terms of an anthemic song that serves as a centerpiece for the rest of the record - at least not one I've identified yet. "Is There a Ghost?" is catchy and insistent, but I don't know if it will hook me the same way; others may well respond to it differently. "Marry Song" is the song that seems most likely to get repeated spins, but it's a ballad, not a rocker. The main difference this time around is the confidence of the band in playing the songs. They sound a lot more comfortable with themselves, and Bridwell was definitely more comfortable in exploring the range of his songwriting this time. Where "Everything All the Time" could be taken as a 'start-to-finish' type of listening experience, its strength was in its individual songs. This record, on the other hand, is best suited as a complete-play-through, stream-of-consciousness type of record. It should not be judged solely by the type of record that "Everything..." was.

In brief, the record is very, very good, and highly recommended, and it receives four stars from me for the same reason that "Everything..." did: it ain't long enough!
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