Guitarist/vocalist Ben Bridwell and bassist Mat Brooke formed Band Of Horses in 2004 after the dissolution of their nearly ten-year run in northwest melancholic darlings Carissa's Wierd. Carissa's Wierd trafficked in sadly beautiful orchestral pop, whose songs told unflinching stories of heartbreak and loss, leavened with defeatist humor. Band Of Horses rises from those ashes. Buoyed by Bridwell's warm, reverb-heavy vocals (which channel a strange brew of Wayne Coyne, Neil Young, and Doug Martsch), the group's woodsy, dreamy songs ooze with amorphous tension, longing, and hope. Both raggedly epic and delicately pensive, this is an album painted gorgeously in fragile highs and lows. Sub Pop. 2006.
This Seattle-based band was formed from the ashes of the incredibly talented Carissa's Wierd [sic], whose mopey and self-deprecating songs were like some magical and baroque combination of the Magnetic Fields, Cat Power, and Leonard Cohen. Longtime friends of Iron and Wine, few fans in their native Pacific Northwest could understand why Carissa's weren't huge. But they weren't, and after three albums and few folks really caring, they naturally broke up. Band of Horses, led by ultra-charming CW bassist Ben Bridwell, is a remarkably different, though just as radically excellent, brand of indie-pop sulk. These songs are anthems to ambivalence, and Bridwell's lovely high-pitched trill will please any fan of Built to Spill, the Shins, and Modest Mouse. It takes a few listens to sink in, but Everything
is transcendent, shimmering, layered, and smartass emo-pop fully ready for stadium saturation. --James Conde