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3.9 out of 5 stars24
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 24 December 2013
For me - this is Band of Horse' best album yet. Less dirgy, and more accessible. Some reviewers have bemoaned the more commercial sound but I'm digging it.
While none of the tunes reach the majesty of 'Funeral' - I first heard it on a Danny Macaskill video and have been a fan of the band since - almost all of the songs have something to reel you in.
Great hooks, sweeping guitars and at times sounding like the Eagles. I particularly like Feud, How to Live and Cruel Hands of Time.
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on 17 September 2012
What makes Band of Horses (BoH) stand out from many other bands is their often experimental approach to their sound despite the record label's pressure to move them into the mainstream. This may be risky in terms of establishing stadium filling success and not all of it works. However, whilst other bands may stumble at this point, BoH have that uncanny knack of producing absolute gems from the simplistically yet intriguingly catchy `Is There a Ghost' to the more epic arrangements on `On My Way Back Home'. Over the years then, BoH, by deliberately straddling and resisting the mainstream have carved out a substantial and loyal following, continuing to pull original and memorable musical magic from the proverbial and potentially bland Americana trick bag.

Many professional critics reviewing Mirage Rock seem to be celebrating the production values Glyn Johns (who has worked with many of the greats such as the Beatles, The Who and Led Zeppelin) has brought to the album. Some even mention that Johns has helped rein in the group's experimental orientation, as if this was a bad thing that needed correcting. To me, if this is the case, as it would seem, then in doing so, this has killed the sound and dare I say the soul of the group and, whilst no doubt, BoH have much to learn from Johns, whom after all has a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they have for this album at least, finally crumbled under record label and producer pressure.

What has resulted is a musically accomplished, yet seemingly weak and lacklustre set of twelve songs, sitting well within the mainstream Americana bracket ready for consumption by the masses. Whilst melodically BoH is sort of still there, nothing remotely risky or quirky stands out and in terms of the albums as a whole; Mirage Rock all sounds the same, dangerously heading nowhere, literally a horse running without its rider. More worrying is that their sound has been firmed up into an almost folk/country rock Americana potentially treading the career killing waters of previous bands such as The Connells (who achieved major single success with the original and acoustic '74-'75 only to be discovered that the main thrust of their music was actually mainstream cannon fodder and promptly vanished into almost total obscurity afterwards.)

So, I have the utmost respect for Glyn johns, but, as a long, loyal fan of Band of Horses I would say; `can we have the old Band of Horses back please? They were much more interesting.'
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on 7 January 2016
"Mirage Rock" is the fourth album by the Band of Horses. To my humble opinion, it's the lesser one of those four. It's because the album feels like the band is drifting toward 'middle of the road' rootsrockmusic. The style is not distinctive compared to the previous albums. But luckilly the band still have their distinctive sound and their voices. And there are some nice songs on the album. Hence three stars.

It starts enthusiastic: a faster alt.country rocking 'Knock knock' followed by the more gentle "How to live", singing about losing a job. Then 'Slow hands of time' have hints of a lost Smokie-songs. It feels like the songs are presenting by a kind of wave-line: some ups and downs. Everyone will have their personal interpretation of those ups and down in the quality of the songs.

Mirage Rock is a lot of mainstraim and too less distinctive. For those who already appreciate the previous records a lot will also enjoy this album. But for those who already liked their third album (much) lesser than "Everything All the Time" and "Cease to Begin" could skip this album.
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on 9 July 2013
Friend lent me 'Cease To Begin' and I loved its heartfelt lyrics, amazing melodies and great vocals. Ordered 'Everything All The Time which had the amazing 'The Funeral' track on it and again, lots of retro hooks and very catchy songs....both vet accessable and infectious.

I then bought 'infinite arms' and now the new one.

This is all subjective but the hooks have gone. I do not sing along to any tracks on 'Mirage rock', but canot put my finger on why. it sounds bland and Ben seems to have settled down too much maybe.

Just like the last few Dave Matthews Band studio albums, the cohesion and 'feel' is wrong. I know we fans expect a lot on every release but its missing for me and my taste hasn't changed so maybe the band has.

'Mirage Rock' is not one to buy first.
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on 31 October 2012
I didn't review this album earlier as I thought I might get to like it; I really wanted to like it. The first time I listened to it my 5-year-old son spewed up in the back of the car. Perhaps unrelated. I can understand why many people don't like this album. If you are unwilling to try and get into MOR country/rock music, then this album is disappointing as that is exactly what it is. Infinite Arms showed signs of BoH losing their individual sound and to me sounds like an album of covers (albeit good ones) that you can't quite remember what the original was. I bought Mirage Rock after reading an article about how the band are coming to terms with massive success and they seemed like a good bunch of guys. They made no apologies that this is the album they felt like making, regardless of what people thought of it or why they did it. I still don't like this album.
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on 17 September 2012
so very very disapointing, just soft pop country, from start to finish. no twist, no rock, no nothing that made their other recordings stand out. approach with caution!
i have since added one star, for the bonus cd, these 5 tracks, are much finer pieces of work then the main album. why they are not on the main album, lord knows!
not classic band of horses, but these five tracks do stand up to their previous work.
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on 27 September 2012
I've taken my time over this, not let some of the negative reviews put me off. Now that I've had time to digest and take it all in, I quite like it. You can hear a whole load of influences from Neil Young to The Rolling Stones to The Eagles. This may be where some people have been put off. The Band of Horses produced unique sounding records on their last 3 albums. This one definitely wears it's influences clearly on it's sleeve.

Here's the thing though. Turn up the volume, immerse yourself in the sound. Does it make you smile, are the lyrics interesting enough to amuse? For me, the answer is yes. It is an enjoyable listen, particularly the first 6 tracks or so. I do have a little gripe about the production, it's polished, possibly too polished. Especially on the last number, Heartbreak on the 101. For me, the whole string section should have been left out completely.

I forked out an extra £1 from another website for the deluxe edition, where you get an extra 5 tracks - bargain. These 5 tracks were produced by the guys themselves and have a much more raw feel to them. I know some people out there have been lauding the chap on the mixing desk for the 11 songs on the main disc. He's famous, produced lot's of albums (doesn't mean a great deal to me). I'd rather have heard the guys themselves be let loose on the whole album.

I'm afraid I can't give it 5 stars. Maybe with repeat listens, it will grow to be a 5 star. I wasn't totally smitten with "Infinite Arms" to begin with, the precursor to this album, but now I really love every track on that album. My initial take was that it was 3 or 4 track pony!

Not quite tamed Horses but toned down a little. I'm hoping they will be set free a little more on their next outing.
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on 29 September 2013
Like many people, loved the first two records, and then 'Infinite Arms' was released, I thought it too much of a shift to straightforward Southern Americana. Played the album on repeat, played this on repeat too, now love them as much as the first two.
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on 3 May 2013
This is a solid album all the way through. I like it better than Infinite Arms. It has a couple of rockier songs that I love, and still plenty of soft folky songs that tug the heart strings. Lovely.
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on 6 October 2012
Whilst Infinite Arms was one of my favourite albums,tho a move towards mainstream it was rich warm lush beautiful record.Mirage Rock however generally nondescript country rock.The production is raved about but has taken much of their sound away.
Its a shame as I tried to give it many listens but becomes boring after four or five tracks.Its not a terrible album at all and has some excellent songs on it but I expected so much more.Silly me.
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