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CD Review: Band of Horses' Infinite Arms 

The Deal: South Carolina-based alt-indie darlings release third studio effort.

The Good: Now off of the Sub Pop label and hanging around the big names at Columbia Records, Band of Horses' opening track on the new album, "Factory," is a hint to the money that now backs them – a string section backing the slow and sleepy rock that fans are familiar with. The harmonized vocals – present in plenty of the band's songs – are hidden behind a thin veil of reverb and echo. "Compliments" scrapes off some of that muck and shows a vision toward the past efforts with its up-tempo rhythm and groove steeped in a bigger bowl of alt-country. There's a tenderness to singer Ben Bridwell's vocals, which seek out the broadest range of high and low points and can also find a haunting quality when the emotions call for it. "On My Way Back Home" has the typical slow alt-country start before galloping to a close.

The Bad: There were a few hiccups – "Dilly" seems a bit out of place for its slightly emo-style leanings, "NW Apt." was virtual indie-rock while "Evening Kitchen" skewed a bit too folk. Like the band's previous efforts, a good bit of the album is "pillow rock" – it makes me want to take a nap. The band sounds like it's settling in and getting comfortable, which could also lead to complacent behavior.

The Verdict: If more of the album sounded like "Compliments," they'd have won over a new fan. As it stands, maybe alt-country is not for me – and will have to stick them in the "what's-all-the-fuss-about" corner with Wilco and My Morning Jacket.

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