Band of Horses - Cease to Begin (Cover Artwork)

Band of Horses

Band of Horses: Cease to BeginCease to Begin (2007)
Sub Pop Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Band of Horses became critical darlings with their 2006 debut, Everything All the Time. Fashion a Neil Young influence with a more muscular take on the light, accessible indie pop of the Shins and you had a complete, surefire winner on your hands. That album was actually recorded in 2005, though, so.
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Band of Horses became critical darlings with their 2006 debut, Everything All the Time. Fashion a Neil Young influence with a more muscular take on the light, accessible indie pop of the Shins and you had a complete, surefire winner on your hands. That album was actually recorded in 2005, though, so Cease to Begin doesn't follow it up as quickly as one would think; therefore, there's a healthy spectrum of change that takes place (as a two-year hibernation would seemingly allot for). That and the key departure of co-founder Mat Brooke.

The first single, "Is There a Ghost" opens Cease to Begin in gorgeous fashion. Everything you could ask for and more in a pop song is here -- the Shins comparison is still heartily present, and there's quite some repetition abound, but Ben Bridwell's delivery of "I could sleep / I could slee-eeep / when I lived alone / is there a ghost in my house?" rides a pulsating riff and is terrifically engaging and hard to resist singing along with.

It's too bad the rest of the album can't quite compete with its lead-off batter, but Band of Horses manage some impressive moments -- and their lyrical pen is stretched a bit further. Ornamental guitars of the Temporary Residence Ltd. variety decorate the precious "No One's Gonna Love You," while they ring in the upbeat jangle-pop of "Islands on the Coast."

The instrumentation here is generally less ornate than Everything, with the band usually relying on guitar, bass and drums. Gone are the banjos and pedal steels that decorated that album. But that type of simpler fashioning makes Cease to Begin a linear, smooth listen, as much as it drains the band of their alt-country overtones. However, "The General Specific" is spiced up with some plinked piano keys, and they serve some grounding for "Marry Song," which is transformed into a pure ol' down-home ballad thanks to Bridwell's heavy twang.

It's curious to see how Cease to Begin will be received by both critic and fan. Changes in the guard may have stripped down Band of Horses a bit and caused them to spill forth a lighter, breezier affair than usual, but it's an enjoyable and accomplished one at that.

Is There a Ghost

Eight-tenths, for some reason, of Cease to Begin


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
StonewallBindr (March 29, 2011)

I didn't think there was anywhere left to progress after hearing Band of Horses' debut album, but I'm very happy to say that 'Cease to Begin' actually surpasses it's precedent sonically. Absolutely beautiful composition that has infinite replay value... this will still be one of my favorite albums of all time 10 years from now. 5 stars, and that's an easy decision.

darkdouchebagdarrel (August 11, 2008)

This album is sonically beautiful. I love it just as much as the last one.

Slater (October 15, 2007)

RE: the Bouncing Souls stuff, I read somewhere that Band of Horses wanted this album cover to look like the South Carolina state flag since they moved there from Washington to record this. I forget where I read that though. Anyway, it was probably just a coincidence that this looks like Anchors Aweigh.

And this album is really growing on me. I avoided this band like the plague for a long time due to too much HYPE but I thoroughly enjoyed the last album when I finally heard it. This one's pretty damn good too.

danperrone (October 10, 2007)

very good album!

elephantdwarf (October 10, 2007)

"score is for a rip of off the souls cover...anchors aweigh"

i highly doubt this was intended. i can't really see band of horses listening to the bouncing souls or even caring about them enough to know what their record cover looked like.

Oldpunkerforever (October 10, 2007)

outstanding work, the first 4 tracks are so freakin good, falls only a little after that, but still great work-oldpunker-

dolorbrigand (October 10, 2007)

really, REALLY somber album. left me feeling like the next song is going to be awesome...through the whole album. meh

youwinalemon (October 10, 2007)

Review's pretty spot on.

First song is awesome. Everything else is good, but not great.

It's almost a little too solid and reliable really.

leecorsoisapenis (October 9, 2007)

I'm really enjoying the more upbeat lyrics. I could see myself drinking a beer and enjoying life while listening to this. The first half of the album is exceptional. I'm still not as sold on the second half, but it's growing on me.


SteeevePerry (October 9, 2007)

Band Of Horses Cease To Begin.

A boy can dream

Scarysmurf (October 9, 2007)

score is for a rip of off the souls cover...anchors aweigh

Archangel (October 9, 2007)

I haven't gotten it yet because I'm poor, but I was at the CD release show last night at Easy Street. The songs sounded great and I'll definitely pick it up.

adamvms (October 9, 2007)

I really enjoy this cd but it is definitely falling a bit short compared to their last offering.

marthaplimpton (October 9, 2007)

score is for the Starbucks card i found on campus for a free download from iTunes of a Band of Horses song

HonestAbe (October 9, 2007)

yea i really like this album. maybe lacking the hits of the first one, but it maintains an overall vibe and sound throughout which is really cool.

If you're interested Mat Brooke's really good new band check out;

damnitsderek (October 9, 2007)

Score is for naming their song "Detlef Schrempf".

elephantdwarf (October 9, 2007)

true the first song is one of the best songs ever written by anybody, but the rest of the album is really solid too. i can't stop listening to it. i'd give this at least a 4 or 4.5

inagreendase (October 9, 2007)

Oh, and anchors aweigh, my friend.

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