Sunday, April 13, 2008

At every occasion, I'll be ready for a funeral

Although my profound fear of all things equine had prejudiced me against Seattle-based (actually, now South Carolina-based) Band of Horses, I am big enough to admit that their 2006 album Everything All the Time has grown on me, and I am glad I gave it a chance. I have not bought their more recent release, Cease to Begin, but I figure I will at some point. One track from Everything All the Time that I've come to admire is "The Funeral," which--despite its use on various TV shows and even a commercial for the Ford Edge SUV--I had not heard prior to buying the album.
As with the other songs on the album, the most compelling ingredient of "The Funeral" is singer Ben Bridwell's evocative voice--a mix of Jim James's reverb with James Mercer's sharp, piercing tone. The moodiness of the song's opening riff complements Bridwell's vocals, and it fits well with the nice opening line ("I'm coming up only to hold you under"). I also like the chorus because it sounds big and sweeping, yet with the dour observation, "At every occasion, I'll be ready for a funeral." There is not a strong, identifiable bridge (it seems to last all of two lines), but perhaps this kind of song really doesn't need one, though the result is that the second half of the song can't help but be less interesting than the first (especially true with the 5:22 version found on the album).

This live performance of the song--from the band's network television debut on Letterman on July 13, 2006--is particularly impressive. Though dude looks like he has the teeth of an Englishman (but that may be mainly due to that little mousy giggle he seems to be stifling for most of the song). Maybe Dave said a funny joke right before they came back from commercial, and the band's still laughing at it. Or maybe Paul is wearing funny sunglasses off camera. Nothing says comedy like funny eyewear.

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