By Aaron Davis (for JHWeekly.com)
Mirage Rock BAND OF HORSES
The music and voices of Band of Horses have been brought closer to the listener on Mirage Rock, it’s fourth studio release. Perhaps from the influence of producer Glyn Johns (The Who, Ryan Adams), the reverb is notched down in favor of a peppy, pop-rock singer-songwriter album with tinges of prog and ‘70s rock. Lyrically, singer Ben Bridwell wavers between poetic fragments, love stories, and straight-ahead confrontation with returning to one’s old stomping grounds. I’m curious about the folksy tune “Shut-In Tourist,” as the band kept a low profile during its three-day private rehearsal sessions in the Pink Garter Theatre before rocking out to a sold out room. It has a beautiful melody and speaks of looking out a window at flags and license plates. I hear some definite Stones (“Electric Music”) and Fleetwood Mac (“Slow Cruel Hands of Time”) influences, which adds balance to the commercial-ready tunes. While there are a couple of less impressive heavy moments (“Dumpster World,” “Feud”), the eleven-track effort harvests memorable melodies, great singing, and is favored by this listener over the Grammy nominated Infinite Arms .