Band of Horses stomped back on Tuesday (Oct. 12) with, “Crutch,” the high-energy first single from the band’s upcoming sixth full-length album, Things Are Great. The group’s first record in five years is due out on Jan. 21 via BMG and a release describes it as a “return to their earlier work and the kind of raw ethos that lies at the heart of Band of Horses.”
The impressionistic “Crutch” features the band’s familiar mix of double-time acoustic guitars, occasionally inscrutable lyrics and singer Ben Bridwell’s longing, ethereal vocals as he sings, “Not, not a long time ago when I knew all the answers/ I couldn’t pace myself or raise my standards/ But one can hope, you need to know,” he sings before dipping into the double-meaning chorus.
“I got a crutch on you/ Just sick of needing something to do/ Tablets in my pocket at the Easter soiree/ Bouncing off the carpet in line for TSA,” Bridwell croons. “I think like a lot of my songs, ‘Crutch’ starts with something from my real life,” the singer explained in a statement. “Obviously ‘Crutch’ means some of the things that I was dependent on. My relationship for one. 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.”
Bridwell dug deeper into production on the upcoming to 2016’s Why Are You OK, producing or-co-producing all the songs on the album along with collaborators including Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, frequent Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann and Dave Sardy (Oasis). “Emotionally intense, both on a personal and elemental level, the songs for the most part were written before the world shut down, when all of us were faced with our own mortality and began to take stock of our lives,” reads the release.
“Here we find Bridwell more autobiographical than he’s ever been on record detailing the nebulous frustrations and quiet indignities of relationship changes and what a person will do to make things right. And what you do when you can’t.”
Album opener, “Warning Signs,” was inspired by a 2016 incident in which Bridwell broke down in tears after losing his voice onstage at the Sydney Opera House, while the final track on the 10-song collection, “Coalinga,” chronicles a road trip the band took with a writer and photographer through Central California for a 2007 Filter magazine profile.
The story of their “colorful mishaps” in a town whose claim to fame is “smelling like cow excrement,” comes full circle with wrier Pat McGuire and photographer Brantley Gutierrez contributing music and playing guitar on the song, with a line from that story inspiring the album’s title.
Check out the band’s upcoming tour dates and the album track list below and watch the lyric video for “Crutch.”
Band of Horses tour dates:
Oct. 18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made
Oct. 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made
Oct. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made
Nov. 4 – Denver, CO @ Mission Ballroom
Nov. 7 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Nov. 8 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre
Nov. 10 – San Francisco, CA @ The Masonic
Nov. 12 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Palladium
Nov. 13 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA
Nov. 14 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
Things Are Great tracklist:
“Tragedy of the Commons”
“In the Hard Times”
“In Need of Repair”
“Ice Night We’re Having”
“You Are Nice to Me”