Great? You guys sure? On their sixth album, Seattle’s alt.country moodlords, out to revisit the desert-gaze majesty of early albums such as 2006 debut Everything All The Time following the departure of guitarist Tyler Ramsey and bassist Bill Reynolds in 2017, certainly sound like they’re enjoying themselves.
Lights is Fleetwood Mac to the max, Crutch a blast of frivolous guitar pop, and much of the rest of the album feels like stargazing from a warm bath, as Ben Bridwell’s cumulonimbus vocals seep weightlessly through guitar swells evocative of the more cosmic cattle ranches.
But discontent bubbles to the surface too: references to therapy, romantic dependency, neo-fascism and tour visits to a ‘foul-ass smelling hellhole’ called Coalinga in 2007 wryly puncture the sonic idyll. ‘I’m in a state of disrepair, trying to take it to the morning’, Bridwell croons over luscious hula guitars on In Need Of Repair.
‘I’m having a hell of a hard time,’ he admits, encased in Flaming Lips space-psych on You Are Nice To Me. ‘The night time is the wrong time to be with the one you love,’ he smirks as Tragedy Of The Commons weaves between airy rock and narcoleptic waltz. The result is a minor wonder of wit, weight and emotion – the Horses back to full gallop.