Cease to Begin

The cover art of Band of Horses’ Cease to Begin says a lot about how the music on the album will sound. A cloudy night sky with a crescent moon over a rippled body of water reflects the band’s lovely and serene melodies. Comparisons to My Morning Jacket are more evident on this sophomore follow-up to 2006’s classic Everything All the Time. The band formed in Seattle, but band members have roots in the South, and BOH leans more heavily on its country influences here. However, the opening track and first single “Is There a Ghost” is too plain for it to be a single. It does not represent the rest of the album, which is a much more interesting mix of foot-tapping rhythms and soft, intricate patterns. If the band had more mainstream popularity, “No One’s Gonna Love You” could easily have been the wedding song of 2007. Guitar strings are plucked delicately as they accompany Ben Bridwell’s endearing voice proclaiming the song’s title. Clocking in at a little longer than half an hour, the album feels like it should go on for at least 10 more minutes and lacks closure as a result. Regardless, it’s a beautiful collection of songs, perfect for late-night drives by the lake.