I stumbled upon this album accidentally while browsing in iTunes one night and i can't say enough good things about it. There are ten songs on it and all of them are excellent. Not to mention that their sequential order is flawless, a rare occurrence nowadays.

If i had to classify this record, i would place it slightly to the left of the country-rock category. It's predominantly a guitar, bass and drum album, but there's also some banjo and lap steel guitar, so at times it has a definite country flavour. Words that come to mind to describe their sound are raw, dynamic, transparent and melodious. One more adjective to describe the entire album is "catchy", as most songs tend to stay in your head (in a good way) after listening to them only a few times.

What makes this album stand apart from the rest is, in my opinion, the distinct voice of singer, songwriter and guitar player Benjamin Bridwell. A voice that can cut through a wall of sound with ease, and then sing you a soft lullaby a moment later.

In terms of record production and sound quality, it's very well done. There's a good balance between the instruments and a fine control of dynamics throughout the songs. There's little reliance on effects, relatively speaking, and signal flow can be summarized as guitars through amps, with moderate use of compression, overdrive and reverb where necessary, and not much more. But then again nothing else is needed. The music just shines on its own without any further help. Phil Ek did a wonderful job of capturing what this band is all about, simple as that.

My only criticism, and it's a minor one, is that Ben's signature voice and pronunciation leaves me guessing half the time what he is really saying. And although there are nice pictures included in the booklet, not a word appears in print. But hey, i gave up a while ago, i just use my imagination and make-up my own words if i want to sing along. You'll probably do the same too and it's just as well.

That being said, the lyrics do come out very clearly at times and reveal Bridwell's original and personal poetry. Expressions like "If i am lost it's only for a little while" and "In every occasion i'll be ready for a funeral" are refreshing, one of a kind lyrics that stay in mind long after the song is over. Like me you’ll be humming the tunes in no time.

In my opinion, this album is a perfect ten. It will no doubt stand the test of time and will surely become a classic in my library. Their growing recognition is well deserved and a refreshing thought considering what's making the charts these days. Buy it without hesitation no matter what your musical preferences are.

Album:  Everything all the time

Artist:  Band of Horses

Label:  Sub Pop

Released:  2006


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