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Boomkat Product Review:
Band Of Horses started out their career opening up shows for close friend and labelmate Iron & Wine. Since then the band have pulled off a similar level of crossover success enjoyed by The Shins and other such members of the Sub Pop elite, clocking up airtime on Letterman and enjoying a nomination for the Shortlist Music Prize (a bit like the mercury Prize but internationally-minded) in addition to the expected, much deserved press adulation. Cease To Begin is the band's second album, reuniting them with Phil Ek, esteemed producer of their debut, Everything All The Time, who coats the band's fluent neo-classic rock sound in a rich reverberation that makes the whole affair seem a little eerie. Appropriately, first track 'Is There A Ghost' introduces a recurrent theme: like their debut, Cease To Begin finds Band Of Horses loitering around in the shadow of death, but like all the best songs that imply loss or absence, there's an oddly uplifting quality to these songs. 'No One's Gonna Love You' is a really special pop song (although it does have a guitar riff in the verse that sounds dangerously close to Coldplay's 'In My Place'), with a rare quality of heartfelt desperation in the chorus and a gorgeous Deserters' Songs sonic makeup for extra added indie rock gravitas. At a brisk thirty-five minutes the album is rammed with absorbing songwriting, from the upbeat cod-country hoedown 'The General Specific', to the melodic blast furnace of 'Islands On The Coast'. By the time we arrive at the album's parting shot, 'Window Blues', Band Of Horses have stripped their sound to a spectral blues, offering up an effortlessly graceful final number that floats into the ether on a wave of slide guitar. Highly recommended.