After two albums on independent labels, South Carolina's Band of Horses' major label switch accompanies a similar musical shift towards reaching a wider audience. However, a much bigger, more spacious sound has been achieved without sacrificing intimacy or their old elemental sense of wonder. These are songs that reach for the sky yet speak to you personally, Ben Bridwell's vocals finding new peaks of plaintive yearning; the hooks virtually tumbling over each other to capture perfect, dewy pop. It's shot through with classic Americana, from the Beach Boys to My Morning Jacket, but is often as reminiscent of British tunesmiths from Teenage Fanclub to the Hollies. Sublime moments such as the waterfalling, descending chords of Laredo and Motown-esque NW Apt. have a similar headrushing feel to the Stone Roses' debut. The songs deal with lost loves and shattered dreams, but also redemption and eternal youth – appropriate themes for a collection bursting with timeless melodies.
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author