Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Album Review: Band of Horses - Acoustic at The Ryman Vol II

Band of Horses
Acoustic at The Ryman Vol II
**and1/2 out of *****

To celebrate the ten year anniversary of Acoustic at The Ryman, Band of Horses uncovered a different acoustic show they recorded at the same venue in 2013 to release as Acoustic at The Ryman II. This new collection of acoustic songs are a bit more exploratory than the original and the lively crowd allow the band to dig in as they strip down. 

BoH's easy intro to "St. Augustine" sets the tone as the acoustic picking and sweet signing from Ben Bridwell are the focal point of the album. One of the best voices in indie rock, Bridwell shines throughout this acoustic effort. 

The warbling "Part One" uses strong mandolin work while "For Annabelle" is soothing and flows wonderfully with easy charm and grace. The action completely shifts gears as the energy picks up on the countrified hoedown of "Weed Party" which lives up to it's title via crowd interaction, a bass break, and an overall fun time. 

The band plays it overly dramatic on "Ode to LRC" with big gongs, piano and a shimmering intro that feels a bit over-cooked, but not too much so. Two tunes that don't seem to hit their mark in this acoustic format are "The Great Salt Lake" which loses all of it's driving force/glory and "Is There A Ghost" which tries hard, but never coalesces in acoustic fashion; sticking with the originals for these efforts is recommended. 

Much more successful is the groups cover of JJ Cale's "Thirteen Days" which showcases piano work, rich bass, mandolin, excellent harmonies, and a light groove, ending up the albums standout track. "Monsters" is sharp as well as it displays light buzzing and banjo work while closer "The General Specific" unleashes big bass drums and marches straight towards a successful finale. 

For Band of Horses this opportunity to dip into a different side of their playing feels fresh and sweet. Acoustic at The Ryman II adds new songs to their softer sound and works well in their discography. 
Support the artists, buy the album and peep some video below:

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