Mirage Rock

Someone lit a fire under Band of Horses' porch. The quintet usually specialize in beard-y reverie, somewhere between Built to Spill's guitar majesty and Seventies AM folk of America. But the Horses rough things up on Mirage Rock, from the "Brown Sugar" bounce of "Electric Music" to the crackling "Knock Knock," where Ben Bridwell sings of "a ramshackle crew with something to prove."

The album was produced by Glyn Johns, who helmed classics by the Stones and Zeppelin. BOH don't put on Seventies swagger; the songs are full of bright Nineties noise-candy pastoralism – an honest version of the basics from guys who have probably spent as much time with Slanted and Enchanted as with Sticky Fingers. Even when Band of Horses go for broke, the South Carolina-bred Bridwell exudes the laidback gravity of a down-toearth Southerner: "Dumpster World" starts like a CSNY-style teach-the-children lament for a ruined planet, then shifts into teenage-anarchist fight-song punk: "Break out everybody in the jail/Let's get it on!" Bridwell entreats. The results make revolution in the streets seem as welcoming as a summer breeze.

Listen to 'Mirage Rock':

From The Archives Issue 1167: October 11, 2012