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Originally published Monday, May 17, 2010 at 7:04 PM

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Seattle-bred Band of Horses releases third album, 'Infinite Arms'

A review of Band of Horses' "Infinite Arms," which New York Times writer Jon Caramanica calls light and lazy.

Band of Horses, 'Infinite Arms'

On its first two albums, which were produced by Phil Ek and released on Seattle's Sub Pop label, Band of Horses emphasized texture over songwriting depth. For (sometimes) better and (more often) worse, this group has been ambitious with its rural indie rock, playing loose with density and lightness, loud and soft.

But on "Infinite Arms," its third album (only partially produced by Ek and issued by Columbia), Band of Horses' swipes at majesty have turned lazy. The opening song "Factory," bolstered with sweeping, mourning strings and brass, comes closest to the group's best work. From there, though, the mood lightens considerably, and disruptively. "Compliments" has a faint whisper of country-disco, and much of the rest of the album ("Dilly" and "Older") is redolent of the 1970s soft-rock folkies America.

The band's plain, incredibly legible songs have little to hide behind; successful in a gestural way, but little more. And the songwriting of the frontman Ben Bridwell, always a little obtuse, has begun to decompose, like sketches drawn from faded memories.

Jon Caramanica,

The New York Times

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