Bands can go two directions: hold a mirror to reality or offer something different. Artists such as Saul Williams, Arctic Monkeys and Dizzee Rascal live in the 'real-world' and meditate on what they see around them; for others it is all about atmosphere. Does a track take you from a piss-streaked bus shelter or from a soulless, epileptic dancefloor to a different world just a few rose-tinted shades from reality? Does it turn a packed car in a ten-mile tailback into the transport of a near-mythical road-trip?
Seattle outfit Band Of Horses are rooted firmly in the second category, and 'The Funeral', the first UK single taken from 2006's highly rated Everything All The Time album, is one of the strongest, and most immediate, passages to their ethereal, windswept world.
From its delay-kissed guitar introduction to the epic chords and reverb-soaked vocals that form its chorus, 'The Funeral' holds many parallels to My Morning Jacket's latter-day releases, but there are further indie-pop sensibilities and the track is more of an 'anthem' than anything produced by the Louisville six-piece (well, except One Big Holiday).
With the line of "At every moment I'll be ready for a funeral" being repeated at the climax of the song, Band Of Horses and in particular vocalist Ben Bridwell offer the same 'triumph-over-death' attitude as Arcade Fire and The Tall Grass Captains Of Greater Chicago, but although their music is as anthemic this single is far more direct.
So whilst they may not have produced the most original slice of American rock, this is still a very well crafted one that has enough hooks to encourage repeated headphone listens whilst not laying too far from the mainstream to make an impact on the charts.
8Jordan Dowling's Score