Band of Horses - Infinite Arms

Returning with their third album Infinite Arms May 18 (Columbia/Fat Possum), the Seattle-bred indie rockers Band of Horses are definitely on their own special 2010 career trajectory. Fresh from one of the most talked about performances at the recent SXSW in Austin, frontman Brent Bridwell and cohorts are receiving the kind of pre-release buzz on the new project, the follow up to '07's breakout Cease To Begin, that is something or a rarity in today's blog-a-licious, flavor-of-the-nano-second era: genuine excitement about the music. This might just be the best thing we’ve heard all year," raved one particularly giddy advance listener, "at once heartbreaking, life-affirming and tragic, brushed with something quite magical."

Part of The Band of Horses' appeal is their controlled firepower, an innate ability to make big, undeniably melodic arena-filling songs while keeping the connection to the listener (and live audience) at the most directly personal. Posing and bluster simply aren't part of the picture and, like their fellow NW rockers Pearl Jam, for whom BOH will open ten dates in May, the emphasis on lack of pretense, sincere "everyman" attitude and just enough cerebral thoughtfulness makes the music both an intensely visceral and intellectual rush. Infinite Arms, once again produced by Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins) and recorded in South Caroline promises to maintain BOH's particular north/south sound, the grit and dark passages bred in the rainy confines of Seattle and the temperate beaches and reinforced traces of southern rock tints of the band's new, sunnier Carolina base of operations. Recommended.

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Band of Horses - "Compliments" (from the album Infinite Arms)

Band of Horses - "Is There A Ghost" (from the album Cease to Begin)

Band of Horses - "The Funeral" (from the album Everything All the Time)