After eight years of building a formidable following on the Seattle club scene, Carissa's Wierd seemed poised to be the Next
Big Thing, their majestic blend of lush orchestration and riveting guitar riffs sufficiently polished to take the country's
airwaves -- and, possibly, arenas -- by storm. But something funny happened on the way to the L.A. Forum: Internal strife
and a problematic cross-country tour prompted an abrupt breakup, and fans were left to wonder what might have been.
No longer. From the ashes has risen Band of Horses, a duo comprised of longtime Wierdos Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke. And though
stylistic similarities between the two bands exist -- how could they not? -- these Horses quickly begin blazing a path all
their own. Lacking the transcendent strings that elevated Carissa's Wierd hits like "You Should Be At Home Here" to such grand
heights, tracks like "The First Song" and "The Funeral" are dreamy guitar jams, the kind of sweeping, melancholy refrains
that permeate the duo's full-length debut, Everything All the Time.
If nothing else, the album serves notice that Bridwell and Brooke are accomplished songwriters with a talent for crafting
brooding, mid-tempo laments that recall the moody emo-rock of the Shins and, to a lesser extent, the Flaming Lips. (In particular,
Bridwell's dry, nasally vocals inspire obvious comparisons to Lips frontman Wayne Coyne and Neil Young.) It's engaging material,
but there's a sameness to it that cannot be ignored. Everything All the Time is a promising start, buoyed by alluring
melodies and a handful of honest-to-goodness rock anthems, but there's still work to be done.