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Band of Horses - Things Are Great (Album Review)

Monday, 07 March 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Stevie and Sarah Gee

Lockdown has bred a misconception that being isolated for so long would lead to artists releasing a plethora of new, outstanding music. While that has sometimes been the case, we also need to remember that songwriters were just like the rest of us during these difficult times, finding that being cut off from the world stifled rather than fuelled their creative process.

Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell epitomises this stance, and when the release of sixth studio album ‘Things Are Great’ was postponed for another two months, his despair must have been immense, having already waited so long to release a collection that was largely finished when the world changed in March 2020.

‘Things Are Great’ sees Bridwell facing honest truths, revealing his personal side in a way rarely seen before, which is something he hopes not to regret in the future. Normally, with his writing, things are a little masked, but not this time.

On You Are Nice To Me he tells of being “unhappy all the time” and that “it’s been a hell of a hard climb”. The end of Bridwell’s marriage contributes heavily, and the resignation felt at this situation's inevitable conclusion could be hinted at during the extremely powerful Hard Times. “Too late to turn it around,” he sings, delivering a sense of him feeling as if he didn’t put the relationship first.

Bridwell “feels the walls around me closing in” during the morose In Need of Repair, a song that lifts its mood with a strong chorus, while on the stop/start Tragedy of the Commons a hopeful front end is replaced by a slower second half that suggests some misplaced loyalties along the way.

The strength of the album is in these deeply personal lyrics and a level of consistency rather than any one song, although opener Warning Signs is brilliant, finding Byrdsian guitars dominating to great effect. Sprightly lead single Crutch is catchy too, as is the driving Lights.

It’s been more than five years since ‘Why Are You OK’, a far longer period than intended, and ‘Things Are Great’ is essentially a pent up Bridwell finally letting go of many things that were weighing him down. While this has undoubtedly shaped the album, you also feel that this is like exorcising the past, and a necessity rather than something deliberately crafted. 

For that to happen, we all need to be in the right frame of mind whatever we are doing and for Band of Horses at least, with that burden finally lifted and positive emotions on the up, you feel this is a release that will precede something even better in the not too distant future.

Band of Horses Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed October 26 2022 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy 1
Fri October 28 2022 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Sun October 30 2022 - LONDON Roundhouse

Compare & Buy Band Of Horses Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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