I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed an album embraced so unreservedly and immediately by so many indie fans as Everything All the Time, the 2006 Sub Pop debut from Band of Horses. Three of the founding members — Ben Bridwell, Matt Brooke, and Creighton Barrett — were in the “quiet core” band Carissa’s Wierd, but nothing about that whispery, mildly diverting music prepared fans for the wide-open, ringing majesty of BoH. The band just seemed to descend into the world fully formed — and perfect.

band of horsesNeedless to say, anticipation has been high for the follow-up, Cease to Begin. How could it possibly live up to the debut? News that Brooke had left the band raised concerns of a sophomore slump.

Well. It’s not officially out until Oct. 9, but I’ve heard the new album and holy sh*t it’s f*cking amazing. It’s only September, but I’m about ready to call it the album of the year.

Ben Birdwell’s reedy, haunting vocals frequently draw comparisons to Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and the bands are similar in spirit too — ambitious and soaring, with occasional notes of country twang and psychedelic jamminess. BoH is on tour behind the new album. Catch ‘em if you can.

This song is the debut single, “Is There a Ghost.” Listen and weep.