Band of Horses: Things Are Great (BMG) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, September 29th, 2023  

Band of Horses

Things Are Great


Feb 28, 2022 Issue #69 - 20th Anniversary Issue Bookmark and Share

Their transition from Seattle folk rock outfit to South Carolinian alt pop heroes reflects Band of Horses’ sheer ambition and collective ability. With no shortage of either, the group’s sixth album finds them returning to their roots, swiftly usurping 2016’s largely subpar Why Are You OK.

Things Are Great works especially well as a lens of maturity through which to revisit previous releases. “Crutch” melds Mirage Rock’s energetic jangle with the polished Americana pop of Infinite Arms, while “You Are Nice to Me” feels something like an intensified distant cousin of 2006’s “Monsters.” Elsewhere, “Lights” and “Coalinga” possess enough grit to maintain the album’s overall edge, recalling rowdier classics such as “Weed Party” and “Laredo.”

Lyrically, Things Are Great explores the decade’s discontentment through fragmented visions of various familial, romantic, and professional relationships. “Warning Signs” finds frontman Ben Bridwell confessing in his signature drawl, “Small talk with a registered nurse/Not to cry in front of people at work/Well that’s hard, hard, hard, at times you know.” Subsequently, “Tragedy of the Commons” sharpens its folksy commentary with the more overtly political observation, “The hate train pray that it crashes/Jaded chattering of neo-fascists/The clatter of the ever-warring classes,” Bridwell ultimately declaring, “Babe I’m dog tired, can I cancel it all?” Likewise, standout “Ice Night We’re Having” finds him “laughing at the tough guy revival in Washington,” concluding, “It matters who you know, when you don’t know/Anyone.”

In the end, Things Are Great is Band of Horses’ most intimate outing in over a decade, its plainspoken sincerity and artistic intensity keeping it consistently affecting. While their glory days may or may not be behind them, Bridwell and company have managed to carve out a cozy space, their legacy having been secured. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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