What can I tell you about Band of Horses? Here is everything that I know: They lived in Seattle for a number of years, then moved back to their hometown of Easley Motherfucking South Carolina. This is a move that i totally understand, both for pragmatic reasons and for more esoteric reasons. Band of Horses have become a touring machine, as best as I can tell. Fact #2 about them: Microsoft bought them a “Zune” branded tour bus for their US tour. It’s way more practical for a band that is touring as much as they are to keep residencies in a small South Carolina town than in a place like Seattle, particularly when it comes to things like rent costs and getting in and out of town.
More esoterically, back when I lived in Chicago, I remember this time of year, as the skies turned grey and it just got colder and colder. It got to where I thought “This is the coldest I have ever been. My god, how could it be so cold?” Then it got even colder. I was really struggling to find work up there and I was starting to find that a lot of my time was spent driving from here to there to there chasing ever more elusive dollars. It was rough. Then, one day I heard a story on the radio about rural people who watch trains in South Georgia, and I heard their soft voices on the air. I heard the softness in their ways, too- the way they said “Thank you” to the interviewer and how they listened to the questions that they were being asked, laughing politely at the right times. I had to pull the car over and just sit for a while until my heart wasn’t so heavy. I knew I was done with Chicago. I knew I had to get home.
I hear Band of Horses, and I remember what that was like.
Here are the lyrics to “The General Specific”:
If your trials end, are really getting you down
We had a close call, I didn’t even see it, then another one, I hardly believed it at all.
What the writers say, it means shit to me now.
Plants and animals, we’re on a bender when it’s 80 degrees, the end of December was coming on,
Only for you and me.
When the showing up ends, going back to the south, where hungry necks that I know, and runnin’
A blender in a lightning storm, disguised as a blessing I’m sure.
Knowing up here, there comes a fork in the road, pants have gotta go, we’re on an island on
The fourth of July, looks like the tide is going home.
In time I’d find a little way to your heart, down to the general store for nothing specific,
Gonna wash my bones in the Atlantic shore – only for you and me
I have heard criticisms of Band of Horses, mostly that they’re trying to take their brand of indie/Americana mainstream, and that they’re the most commercial (and this implies: “possessing the least integrity”) of the Low Lows/Sparklehorse/My Morning Jacket mope-along-little-doggies axis, but I love this band, so far. Talk to me again in a week, we’ll see. But right now, I am digging it.