Band of Horses – Why Are You OK (2016) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Band of Horses – Why Are You OK (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 49:37 minutes | 1,04 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Interscope Records

In the past, Band of Horses founder and leader Ben Bridwell would literally run away from home to write: holing up in a secluded cabin or other such remote location, emerging months later with new songs for his band to flesh out and fully animate. This time—whether by happenstance or conscious need for a drastic change—Ben stayed home to write. In the estrogen-charged atmosphere of a home shared with his wife and four—yes, four–daughters he allowed his everyday experiences to inform his process. Between dropping off and picking up the girls, changing diapers, and playing dress up, Bridwell spent every precious free minute—often the wee hours on the morning into daybreak–in his garage writing.
The result is Band of Horses’ fifth studio album, Why Are You OK, a record informed by experience and at the same time retaining the vulnerability that birthed their greatest songs. Creating capsule worlds populated by the strange but true cast of characters from Bridwell’s hometown Charleston, SC, Why Are You OK‘s songs combined universal sentiments with Bridwell’s patented knack for storytelling—all wrapped in the lush melodic textures that have long been the bedrock of Band of Horses’ signature sound.
The album was produced by Jason Lytle, Executive Produced by Rick Rubin and mixed by Dave Fridmann.

When they pegged studio legend Glyn Johns to helm 2012’s Mirage Rock, Band of Horses underwent a bit of retooling to ignite some latent rock spark, while still offering enough mainstream appeal to sustain them at Columbia Records. While not an overwhelming critical success, the album’s easy-riding country-rock vibes were enough to vault it into a significant Top 20 placing on Billboard’s pop chart. For their follow-up, 2016’s Why Are You OK, they hand over the keys to a less-proven and more experimentally oriented captain in Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle. Along with this sonic shift comes a new partnership with Interscope and American Recordings, offering a change of scenery and a bit of gentle guidance from American honcho — and executive producer — Rick Rubin. Tonally, Why Are You OK is a different animal than its predecessor, often placing frontman Ben Bridwell’s warm exaltations within the pseudo-synthetic context of droning synth layers and effects-laden atmospherica. Album opener “Dull Times/The Moon” is a slow-building seven-minute opus whose dreamy space-crawl eventually gives way to a typhoon of heavy distorted guitars. Gentle synths and the scuffed sound of an old drum machine thread throughout the catchy, J Mascis-aided “In a Drawer,” building into swirling layers of harmony and textured guitars. There’s even a spaced-out Lytle-penned instrumental that acts as a sort of mid-album interlude. Lyrically, themes of encroaching middle age and the contentment of family life provide much of the album’s emotional arc, and while it would be easy to accuse Bridwell of descending into the musical comfort zone that often gets unfairly labeled as “dad rock,” he’s writing from an honest place about the life he’s living. Twelve years into their career, Band of Horses are a recognizable, well-established touring act whom Bridwell has shepherded from humble Seattle origins to quite respectable heights. Maybe they’re not a household name, but by most bands’ standards, these guys have made it. While certainly not complacent, they do seem to lack some of the hunger of their Sub Pop years and the broad scope of their Grammy-nominated Infinite Arms LP. Lytle’s riskier production is a nice bonus and there are some strong standouts like the hooky lead single “Casual Party” and guitarist Tyler Ramsey’s breezy “Country Teen,” but as a whole, Why Are You OK isn’t quite as memorable a set as they’ve proven capable of delivering. –AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger

1 Dull Times/The Moon 07:00
2 Solemn Oath 04:00
3 Hag 04:33
4 Casual Party 03:54
5 In A Drawer 03:58
6 Hold On Gimme A Sec 01:13
7 Lying Under Oak 03:58
8 Throw My Mess 03:13
9 Whatever, Wherever 04:14
10 Country Teen 03:22
11 Barrel House 04:48
12 Even Still 05:24

Ben Bridwell, guitar, vocals
Tyler Ramsey, guitar
Ryan Monroe, keyboards, guitar
Bill Reynolds, bass
Creighton Barrett, drums