Things Are Great for Band of Horses fans today (Oct. 12), as Ben Bridwell and company have just announced their sixth studio album—their first in over half a decade, following 2016’s Why Are You OK. Coming Jan. 21, 2022, via BMG, Things Are Great is described in a press release as “a return to their earlier work and the kind of raw ethos that lies at the heart of Band of Horses.” Lead single “Crutch” is out now.
As our first preview of Things Are Great, “Crutch” is quite promising, if a bit perplexing. The track marries big, bright guitars—with a sliding electric riff over acoustic jangle-pop strums—to opaque lyrics about romantic entanglement, built around the intentional malaprop, “I’ve got a crutch on you.” Bridwell’s songwriting vacillates between frustratingly indistinct (“And then the one stayed one, one stayed one / Forgotten where I was, confusing it with another that I saw”) and strangely specific (“Tablets in my pocket at the Easter soiree / Bouncing off the carpet in line for TSA”), but he delivers it all with such irresistible melody that you find yourself not minding all that much. And true to the promised “return to their earlier work,” the song’s sticky “ooh ooh” pop chorus vaguely recalls that of “Is There a Ghost,” their breakout Cease to Begin single.
“I think like a lot of my songs, ‘Crutch’ starts with something from my real life. Obviously ‘Crutch’ means some of the things that I was dependent on. My relationship for one,” Bridwell explains in a statement. “I think I wanted to say, ‘I’ve got a crush on you,’ and I thought it was funny how relationships also feel like crutches. I feel like everybody has had a time when nothing goes right and you still have to carry on. I think that feeling hits you in this song even if you don’t know what the specifics are.”
Band founder Bridwell took on an expanded production role this time around, producing or co-producing all 10 of Things Are Great’s tracks—most of which were written pre-pandemic. Past Band of Horses collaborators Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips) and Dave Sardy lent their talents to the record, as did engineer Wolfgang “Wolfie” Zimmerman. As for Band of Horses themselves, the band has a new lineup after Bridwell shook things up back in 2017, resulting in the departure of Tyler Ramsey and Bill Reynolds, who had joined the band after Cease to Begin’s release. Band of Horses now consists of longtime members Ryan Monroe (keys) and Creighton Barrett (drums), as well as Archers of Loaf’s Matt Gentling (bass) and Ian MacDougall (guitar).
Band of Horses played this year’s Lollapalooza, Firefly and Austin City Limits festivals, and will make a three-night stand at Brooklyn Made next week, Oct. 18-20, before embarking on a brief North American tour in November, playing a handful of West Coast shows alongside Miya Folick.
Check out “Crutch” below, along with the details of Things Are Great and Band of Horses’ tour dates. You can preorder their new album right here.
Things Are Great Tracklist:
01. Warning Signs
03. Tragedy of the Commons
04. In The Hard Times
05. In Need of Repair
08. Ice Night We’re Having
09. You Are Nice To Me
Things Are Great Album Art:
Band of Horses Tour Dates:
18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made
19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made
20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made (SOLD OUT)
04 – Denver, CO @ Mission Ballroom *
07 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater *
08 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre *
10 – San Francisco, CA @ The Masonic *
12 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Palladium
13 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA *
14 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues *
(* – w/ Miya Folick)