Mirage Rock's first song kicks in with a rockin' beat, as not yet heard by Band of Horses. While their last album Infinite Arms (2010) was their most upbeat at the time of its release, Mirage Rock has it, well, beat. However, Mirage Rock has a more natural feel to it, and comes off as the better, and happier album. It would seem that indie rock is catching up with the happy times of its counter part - indie pop.
While the influence may have been there on previous albums, it is on Mirage Rock that I notice lead singer Benjamin Bridwell channeling Neil Young the way Christian Slater channeled Nicholas Cage; on some songs I caught myself wondering if I was indeed actually was listening to Neil Young, circa Harvest Moon. This is a good thing, in my opinion. Song "Dumpster World" particularly conjurs up images of Harvest Moon crooner, until it breaks out into a Band of Horses-esque rock out chorus.
Other notable songs:
"Electric Music" has a great American rock feel, both with twang and lyrical imagery about the open road.
"Heartbreak on the 101" has an altogether different musical feel, distinctly different from all other Band of Horses tracks, yet still fits in with the tone and theme of the album.
"Ego Nightmare" sounds like a quintessential upbeat Band of Horses song, with a slight Beach Boys influence.
Overall, a good album I think I'll be listening to more. Definitely worth checking it out.