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Breaking Hearts in Fits and Starts

Band of Horses, founded by former Carissa's Wierd [sic] members Benjamin Bridwell and Mat Brooke, makes its debut with an amazing amalgam of psychedelic pop and epic, intense rock that recalls the sheen of The Shins and the expansiveness of The Flaming Lips.

With Carissa's Wierd, Bridwell and Brooke played slow, intensely melancholy heartbreakers. Here, they take that formula a step further and ratchet up the tension, as songs build quietly, expand, and explode before falling apart altogether.

"The Funeral" opens with soaring vocals that channel The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne before broadening its sound to include gut-wrenching guitar bursts and pummeling drums. When the song screeches to a halt midway through, the pause lasts just long enough to maximize the impact of the vulnerable and heartfelt noise that follows. The result is a raging, glorious epic.

Listen to yesterday's "Song of the Day."

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John Richards
John Richards is the host and producer of The Morning Show with John on 90.3 FM KEXP Seattle, and online at kexp.org. He is also KEXP's assistant program director.