Band of Horses has big news.
The band recently released Acoustic at The Ryman, a 10-song live album that features songs from two shows recorded last April at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, a stage that has held the likes of Johnny Cash and Teddy Roosevelt. The band not only released this album but also started its 2014 tour beginning in Los Angeles and ending, understandably, at the Ryman.
Band of Horses has stripped down its usual sound and replaced all electric guitars with a piano and acoustic guitars. This leaves room for clearer harmonies and a smoother sound that sometimes a studio recording can mask. This is especially noticeable in the a cappella sections of “Neighbor” and “Older.”
Some fans have been disappointed by the new version of the band’s hit “The Funeral” because of the abscence of its usual “guitar explosion.” However, the album’s intent is to put a new spin on things and influence the listeners to pay attention to the harmonies. The electric guitar element was likely omitted because the lyrics are sometimes overshadowed in a normal recording. There seems to be a new interpretation behind each song when it is played acoustically.
The quality of this record is incredible. In order to master the album, Band of Horses used the high-resolution Direct-Stream-Digital format, which is usually used by classical and jazz artists. If any mistake had been made, it would have been heard — but Band of Horses was able to play a seemingly flawless set.
Critics complained about the acoustic set lacking flow throughout because the band has cut out the majority of talking between tracks. Therefore, there is a rough chopping between each song that can seem abrupt. Even if Acoustic at the Ryman doesn’t flow like one natural performance, the cumulative effect of the record shows that Band of Horses is a talented group of musicians more than capable of playing live without sonic camouflage or superfluousness.
The album can be streamed at bandofhorses.com/stream/.
RATING: 4.5 STARS