Infinite Arms finds Ben Bridwell and company on a slow journey through Americana, on their third album and first release since making the jump from Sub Pop to Columbia records. That leap seems pretty small as the boys fail to escape the comparison’s of fellow indie rockers My Morning Jacket, and stake out their own territory.
The string-drenched “Factory” is charming, easily drawing similarities to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. “Factory” sets the tone and themes of the record. Mid-tempo songs full of self-reflection, and soul searching, that lack genuine emotion. The first single Laredo is crunchy, blues, bar rock, that’s altogether flat and forgettable.
The energetic bouncing keys of “Dilly” feel out of place in a swamp of melancholy, atmospheric rock. “NW Apt.” is a single in waiting and the only song to really bring true energy to an otherwise sleepy album. The middle of the album falls into a rinse, wash, repeat format. An opening riff that perks up the ears, before looping it over and over, rocking you gently back into your sleepy, star gazing state. If you want atmosphere, the record has it’s charm, particularly for a good road trip.
Between Bredwill’s Neil Young-inspired vocals, the over production, and cluttered instrumentals, there’s a feeling Infinite Arms was all too focused on the transition from indie to major label and the need for a more immediate presence. Instead, they lack just that… presence.