Band Of Horses is an entirely new group of equine since releasing their Sub Pop debut, "Everything All the Time," last year, with only frontman Ben Bridwell remaining for the group's new effort. The n

Band Of Horses is an entirely new group of equine since releasing their Sub Pop debut, "Everything All the Time," last year, with only frontman Ben Bridwell remaining for the group's new effort. The new five-piece crew is not the only thing that's affected the rock troupe's "Cease To Begin," due this week.

"So much sh*t has gone down since making the last album," Bridwell says. A pair of relationship perils, a move back to his hometown of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., re-connecting with family and a new romance have all provided fodder for the album. "[The album] is made up mostly of a series of little stories," he says. "This definitely is mellow -- it's got a lot of sad songs, but it'll all be balanced out by some rockin' numbers and a couple stomp-and-clap country f*ckin' jams."

Bridwell once again tapped veteran engineer Phil Ek to helm the decks in Seattle, though he spent some time laying down tracks in North and South Carolina. "If the first record was our Northwest-sounding record, this one's Southeastern," he says, explaining that it "has the soul of the Carolinas." Bridwell also promises his vocals are more "pronounced. 'Everything' had a lot of smoke-and-mirrors lyrics and big huge effects on my vocals. I wasn't scared of singing this time around."

Highlights from the set include the early U2-ish rocker "Islands on the Coast," "Ode to the LRC," a song about a time when the songwriter hid out in a train caboose, and "No One's Gonna Love You," a "challenging" number about a failed relationship which closely resembles the feel of the last album's "The Funeral." "I'm afraid that one is probably going to be the single," he laughs. "It's hard, emotionally, and kinda hard to play. Like 'The Funeral,' it's like, 'Oh great, that's the one they're going to make me play on TV.'"

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