Band of Horses, Goldheart Assembly
Alex Yau 01/02/2011
There they are, sat up all high and mighty in their A-list tower, looking down ignorantly at the grassroots country origin that made them, like some sort of angry God. They've abandoned pure dangerous rock n roll for safer, more generic music that wouldn't sound out of place in a Marks and Spencer's advert. This isn't just commercialism at its highest core. This isn't just the equivalent of Bono being handed a massive cheque and doing fuck all with it. This is Kings of Leon style commercialism and may a pigeon fly over and shit on their heads.
But of course, Seattle's Band of Horses have always stayed on their country saddles, albeit just originating through their music. It's all just pastorally brilliant country music and since bagging a Grammy nomination for Infinite Arms, they've raced through the stable gates like Frankie Dettori on horse pheromones.
It's all music that takes you to a simpler way of life. One filled with the smell of trees that are only extinguished by the overwhelming air of a campfire as cuts of beef are cooked on it. It's a life without the troubles of the modern, manufactured world and all helped by some particularly stunning background projections.
Islands on the Coast is a frantic and frenzied field skip as the guitars chime and dance their way like it's a good old fashion ho-down, yee haw! Factory, is an inspiring and enchanting free flow of swimming strings that bring images of a more stripped down Elbow as they walk off into the woods, naked and full of face paint. Laredo is that sudden sense of brilliant and optimistic realisation as the melody of the song waterfalls and carries on like a plethora of dandelions blowing through the wind. Compliments pulsates and staggers as it marches along with a nonchalant charm and confident swagger. The Great Salt Lake is what it says on the tin. The thunderous shots are that of a hunter's (Singer Ben Bridwell being that hunter with his scruffy beard, grizzly Bridwell if you must) hitting a deer as it drops, taking its final breast of life.
There's a lot more to Band of Horses though. They have the ability to create a majestic and positively overwhelming wall of sound without losing anything in the process. Is There a Ghost is a calm, reassuring lullaby as Bridwell's voice travels and smoothly floats soothing everything in your head. But perhaps the highlight of the night is the truly magnificent The Funeral. It's just as anthemic as anything Arcade Fire might produce as it moves into that chorus. Oh that chorus! It all comes together like a thousand horses racing towards you and you can't help but stop in your tracks, like a rabbit in headlights, with the blood rushing frantically through your body frantically. Welcoming us with infinite open arms is only part of the compliment tonight.