Band of Horses may have relocated to South Carolina, but in the studio, they can't seem to leave the West Coast behind. Their sophomore effort, Cease to Begin, mostly picks up where its predecessor left off (its U2-sized opener aside). And their hazy, Pacific Northwest indie pop proves just as alluring the second time through. As on the excellent Everything All the Time, Band of Horses excel at creating soft-focus pop songs—coating big hooks in thick sheets of reverb. Not even the vocals are left untreated, giving Ben Bridwell's honeyed tenor an oddly enchanting quality. If their singular approach sometimes makes the songs tough to differentiate, the band makes up for it with an effortless grace that easily distracts. How Band of Horses replicate this studio-indebted sound in a live setting remains a mystery to me, but I've no doubt they'll pull it off. This is a band with a knack for making the difficult look easy. With the Drones & Tyler Ramsey. 18+.
Wed., Nov. 14, 8 p.m., 2007