However, here we are heading into the final quarter of 2012 and the label execs have kicked into gear with the heavy hitters. One of which is beard rock meisters Band Of Horses fourth album Mirage Rock which has slammed it's way into this reviewers Top Ten of the year with still over 3 months to go until the chimes of Big Ben and obligatory kissing of friends (and strangers) on 31st of December.
The Seattle born Band Of Horses never fail to build upon their last release, bringing forth a new twist on their Alternative Country leanings without detracting too far from what they are loved for in the first place. Mirage Rock is no different. Jumping its way out of the woofers and tweeters with recent single 'Knock Knock' we are assured immediately that Ben Bridwell and the boys have used their time off since 2010's Infinite Arms excellently.
'How To Live' is the epitome of what 'Horses are all about, loud yet melodic riffs, heavy drum beats and weighty bass all backed up with the 'cowboy country' feel of the twanging rhythm guitar and Bridwells unique voice taking on lyrics of harsh life lessons. These lyrics being especially prevalent on 'Slow Cruel Hands Of Time'.
'A Little Biblical' is 3 minutes of pure jangly Alt-rock joy, 'Shut In Tourist' sees the band at one of their most country without straying into the western wilds.
'Dumpster World' is played out as a two parter, taking a flip-side view of light/dark shades of the modern world we inhabit. The whole musical theatre of the song shows this is not just your average American alt-rock pedallers. They are not just beards, there are brains too!
'Feud' has the amps turned up to 11 for a 'rock out with your cock not out but slightly showing' (sorry mum).
Now, 'Long Vows' sees the boys not so much have a jaunt into the cowboy country, whereas get lost wandering sandy plains searching for a saloon to drown their sorrows with '3 fingers of blindness inducing bourbon'.
'Heartbreak 101' closes the 11 track mid-western musical journey with Bridwell gargling on a sackful of gravel, using the resulting voice to lament to love lost but wait, the throat recovers gradually throughout to be joined in its staccato melodies with muted orchestral strings that end the proceedings leaving the listener with hope that romance isn't really dead, but merely resting on a shady saloon balcony somewhere on those lost plains.
Mirage Rock is out now.