Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2006: Number 25

If you've come here from Largehearted Boy, this is the proper full list

Local park, fish eye lens, money saved

Band Of Horses will probably strike down the next person to suggest this, but Everything All The Time did well to emerge at a time when people were only just getting over the Arcade Fire's Funeral. There's an outline of that album's expansive, pounding yet widescreen arrangements, its soaring arrangements and determined vocal style, if without the string sweeps or bittersweet tendencies that sealed that album as a benchmark for the whole decade's indie-rock. Ben Bridwell's voice even resembles a less confident version of Win Butler's at times, possibly mixed with that of James Mercer or Jim James. Crucially, this album hit the blogosphere in the immediate wake of Wolf Parade's Apologies To The Queen Mary, an album that for us didn't work for more than two or three tracks simply because in attempting to be this year's big American alt-anthemic album it overstretched itself. Everything All The Time knows what it wants to do and has the capabilities therein.

As we think we've moped before, at this point in music this kind of effort-to-sound-effortless country-rock sound could only have come from North America, where Neil Young dynamics are de rigeur and everyone has been in at least two proper bands before so knows their way around a studio already. When the band ditch the over-reliance on acoustic arrangements they touch the core of the rich source of this strain of lighter meaningfulness so well mined in the past by near musical neighbours Modest Mouse; The First Song wouldn't shame My Morning Jacket, Wicked Gil takes from the Shins maxipop playbook, The Great Salt Lake is nothing so much as a non-area anthemic Americana equivalent of Coldplay's Everything's Not Lost while The Funeral comes closest to the spirit of its near namesake album precursor, countless hooks, lyrics apparently abstract yet eventually making sense and sheer skyscraping ambition making the hairs on the back of the listener's neck stand to attention. Finally the American underground is creating a scene to call its own, and if this isn't quite the apogee it's a more than useful milestone.

LISTEN ON: The Funeral
WATCH ON: The Great Salt Lake video; The Funeral on Letterman. Someone upload versions of more than two tracks from this!
READ ON: Bridwell talks to The Red Alert

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