Cease To Begin
(Sub Pop)


A change of scenery has done Band of Horses good, said Stephen Deusner in Pitchforkmedia.com. After bassist Mat Brooke’s departure last year, frontman Ben Bridwell decided to return to his Southern roots. The band left Seattle for Mount Pleasant, S.C., and Cease to Begin is a testament to the comfort and confidence Band of Horses has found there. Like 2006’s Everything All the Time, this sophomore effort is immersed in reverberating, rural drama. The guitars still “churn and crest majestically,” and Bridwell reaches the same stratospheric range that earned him comparisons to My Morning Jacket’s Jim James. But the record is softer, rippling with emotional heft, which allows the trio to shed those comparisons. Only Bridwell “can sell the line ‘The world is such a wonderful place’ or get away with singing ‘la-dee-da’ with open-hearted amazement” on “Ode to LRC.” His voice bears a quavering vulnerability that gives pull to his bittersweet lyrics, said Brett McCabe in The New York Sun. It’s the “smile in the face of sadness that permeates the album’s strongest tracks.” Though the hovering, somewhat ominous undertone causes the occasional song to fade into the background, said Edna Gundersen in USA Today, even such “hypnotic amblers as ‘Is there a Ghost’ and ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’ have an arresting power.” Like the South, Cease to Begin gradually reveals its charms.