By Gabrielle Rodriguez
When Band of Horses’ new album Mirage Rock was placed in my hands for a listen, I was a bit excited, as it had been a while since the vocal stylings of Ben Bridwell had permeated my speakers. Having never heard the band’s album before this new release, “Infinite Arms,” I did not really know what to expect.
There has been quite the soft spot in my heart for “No One’s Gonna Love You,” which sparks the nostalgia of a mix tape from an ex-lover. You can also put me down as a fan of the strong tracks, like “The Funeral” and “Is There a Ghost,” and I remembered how much I loved the few tracks that I knew.
The album began with the track “Knock Knock,” and though I was not quite impressed, something about the track was a bit dancey and catchy and reminded me of a summer drive with all of the windows down. From there, the tracks just seemed to lose more and more of my attention, and quite honestly, I found myself wanting to turn the power off.
Pitchfork said it best when Stephen Hyden wrote: “Like an actual mirage, there is no there there on Mirage Rock. All the elements for a typical Band of Horses album appear in their right places — Bridwell’s honeyed whine, the straightforward thrust of the guitars, the earnest hippie-dippiness of the lyrics — and yet the music dissipates instantly upon impact. Mirage Rock is so lightweight and inconsequential that it really does seem more like an illusion than a record; it’s wispy and indiscernible, as if the people who made it had no vision for what it should be.”
The album seemed a bit lost and there was no consistency, beginning with a slight reminder of summer and ending with somewhat of a recollection of a breakup I did not want to remember. All throughout the album is a mashup of songs from a repetitive ditty, “Dumpster Song,” to “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone,” which sounds like an old country song. I’m not a fan of country.
New Music Express gave this album an 8 out of 10, and stated, “Mirage Rock could and should be the LP that at least bumps them [Band of Horses] a good few places higher up next year’s festival bills.” I would have to disagree with this, as there was something so out of place compared to the old Band of Horses that I once knew — like an old friend who changed over time that I no longer shared interests with.
That was when I discovered, after hearing the album, that many of the members who contributed to my handful of beloved tracks had left the group. I can’t speak as a diehard Band of Horses fan, but I would have to say that this album left me less than impressed.