Horse Feathers' Impressionistic Lullabies
In which Justin Ringle's voice is its own instrument
Kill Rock Stars
The latest offering from Portland indie quartet Horse Feathers is a decent follow-up to their first two albums. And while they've got a few new members, frontman Justin Ringle is present in full force, his voice pushing and pulling the folky, string-filled sonnets into bloom.
It's up for debate what makes Horse Feathers so ethereal. It could be the layered cello, violin, and piano that make it pretty. The "songs may have words—enigmatic, artfully slurred words—but in many ways, the band might as well play instrumentals," an NPR reviewer said of a 2008 HF release. And while it's true that the band offers more orchestral feelings than clearly defined narratives, I don't think they could lose their vocals. Ringle's voice is its own instrument—and half the music's power is in its constant intrigue.