Maybe if I get close enough it’ll disappear, and the real album will come to form…
Mirage Rock is an apt title for this, the fourth release from southern rock group, Band of Horses. The entire album is supporting the illusion of rock music that contemporary music is supporting. With every album that Band of Horses release, they seem to progress further and further into the realms of mediocrity, particularly on this most recent release.
This band feels as though they have completely departed and become some kind of apparition as to what they once were. Everything All The Time was a delight beginning to end, indie rock tipped with that southern tinge that made everyone fall in love with bands like Kings of Leon and recording artist Ryan Adams.
The latest release feels like it’s streamlining towards the genre of ‘adult contemporary’ very quickly. Too quickly. It’s radio-conscious brand of pop music makes stomaches churn and my fond memories of their 2006 debut disintegrate.
The shameless chorus ‘aawhooooos’ from the first track rings a little to close to Matchbox 20 and early Maroon 5 for my liking. These aren’t good things. Sure, album opener ‘Knock Knock’ isn’t completely dull, but it’s not as exuberant as openers like “The First Song”. It feels a little contrived this time around.
On “How to Live” the band amp up the southern style, whilst maintaining that indie sound, and it’s a honestly a little disconcerting in some parts. It’s reminiscent of a dodgy Neil Young impersonator. And I mean that with all of the connotations the image creates.
Cliché country and western lyrics are what’s on offer in “Electric Music”. “Listen to the motor/Getting louder as we go/One way or another/Gonna make it back home”. I feel like I’m listening to a rejected concept for a Jimmy Buffett track.
Whilst these guys were never the hardest of rockers, they’re no Queens of the Stone Age or even Kings of Leon, it’s disappointing to see just how weak they’ve become.
I was really hoping that this Mirage Rock would be similar to a magic eye puzzle, one that if you squint in the right place, a beautiful image is created.
Unfortunately, everywhere you look, no matter how you do it, all you get given is a fuzzy, confused image of what the band are trying to be.