"Mirage Rock" induces a rock and roll trance
It wasn’t long ago that my father introduced me to Band of Horses and I was instantly intrigued. I admit, I had to listen to their album “Infinite Arms” a seemingly infinite number of times before the band really found a place in my heart. And the same applies for their newest album, “Mirage Rock,” which dropped today. It may take some time to appreciate the mash-up of northwest indie folk and southern rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s a classic sound that will resonate with fans.
“Mirage Rock” differs from the folk-rock of their last album, “Infinite Arms.” The sound, just like the band, has evolved with the addition of lead guitarist Tyler Ramsey, who seems to bring a diverse country undertone to this indie band.
Band of Horses explores reality with metaphorical mirages
The sound of Band of Horses’ latest album can be best described as a matchup of the musical stylings of the legendary Cat Stevens and rockers Kings of Leon. This twist will be sure to entertain the ears with its thin, translucent sound. Even though the newest album lacks Bridwell’s reverberating vocals, the hole is filled with layered vocal harmonies that will leave any listener wanting more. Though the sound has undergone a noticeable alteration, veteran fans of the band need not fear. “Mirage Rock” takes the listener on a philosophical journey into a world of lyrical and visual imagery, using phrases such as “happy living in a dumpster world.” Bridwell makes even trash seem like a metaphorical euphemism in the song.
Band of Horses was the product of a 2004 musical collaboration between Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke. Their efforts would later be named Band of Horses. Loved in the Northwest for their mid-tempo folk rock and reverberating vocals, they were later recognized for their musical contribution to a 2008 Ford Edge commercial. Their contribution was a song titled “The Funeral,” from their album “Everything All the Time,” which hit shelves in 2006. It wouldn’t be until 2010, with their album “Infinite Arms,” that Band of Horses would have their first Columbia record and first Grammy nomination.
"Mirage Rock" is entrancing in its ballads and anthems alike
Their Northwest coffee shop vibe continues on, provided by an acoustic presence on the album. Many of the songs rely on a combination of haunting electric guitar with mellow pedal steels. The instrumentation embellishes their already unique sound. “Mirage Rock” can be summed up as a rock-induced trance, brought about by the collective synergy of the band members. The album provides a refreshing spin on the already cherished sound of Band of Horses.
There are many memorable songs in the album, including “Heartbreak on the 101,” which not only demonstrates lyrical prowess, but doubles as an anthem for the band’s broken-hearted hipster fan base. One of my favorite tracks is "A Little Biblical.". This song in particular is reminiscent of Ben Folds Five’s earlier work. While it may not awaken the soul, it may call to life the dormant 90s rocker living within.
Band of Horses’ “Mirage Rock” will definitely be at the top of my iTunes wish list. I advise anyone who appreciates indie rock or 70s classics to add it to their library. If you are currently a diehard Band of Horses fan, I can assure you that “Mirage Rock” is another ambitious album that will be a great addition to your collection. Even though it is still summer weather for students at Biola, this album begs you to sit at a coffee shop with a pumpkin spice latte and take in the tunes.