Band of Horses' Cease to Begin: CD of the Week

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While many folks I know thought otherwise, Band of Horses' first CD, Everything All the Time, didn't entirely blow me away. The album's rustic folk faded into the background every time I listened, its indie-rock overtures pretty but too nondescript to take hold in my brain. But I started listening to BoH's new CD, Cease to Begin via AOL's Spinner today -- it's out October 9, today -- and, wow: I'm floored. What beauty.

Even though it's 90 degrees out there still, Begin is the sound of autumn, of leaves crunching under your feet, of cozy sweaters, of chilly sunshine and the burnt-oranges, yellows and browns of fall. My Morning Jacket without the bombast, Rogue Wave without the soft-focus daydreaming, a sharper, tighter Red House Painters -- all of those compare to Band of Horses. (And okay, the first person to point out the R.E.M. similarities, and thus conclude that that's why I like the CD, gets a cookie.)

A move to South Carolina from Seattle gave the band a bit of Southern edge -- more in spirit than practice. But somehow the band's guitars are more forceful and personable (check out the hurricanes on "Ode to LRC"), and Ben Bridwell's mournful vocals are much more soulful and yearning.

Sub Pop has an MP3 to download of first single, the U2-like "Is There a Ghost." Nab it here. I love it!

-- Annie Zaleski