Last time around, Bed Bridwell was seeing ghosts. On Band of Horses’ third album, he’s back in the real world, kicking around in factories, kitchens, and boyhood homes. The people and places Bridwell visits on Infinite Arms represent a part of America that cuts closer to Band of Horses’ rootsier side, which has always struggled for dominance with their indie-rock cred. Free of these shackles, Infinite Arms turns out to be the group’s most consistent record, an often-stirring (and occasionally overreaching) document of wasted time, regret, and reconciliation. It’s also Band of Horses’ fullest-sounding album (they recently beefed up to a quintet), with strings, ambient noise, and marching guitar riffs embellishing many of the songs. The best of them — “Factory,” “Compliments,” “Blue Beard” — mix moods, hooks, and a sense of tranquility that were only periodically touched on before.
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