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Horse Feathers, Cynic’s New Year
Kill Rock Stars Records, April 17

04/12/12
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



The fourth LP from this Portland foursome doubles as a really nice antebellum-folk set and a clinic on alt-rock imagery, if not songwriting. There’s really nothing negative to say about this album, whose earthy elements are made starker through a hellaciously good production job — it’s chamber-folk that neohippies might be inclined to study, not simply enjoy. Musically it’s a fusion of Broken Social Scene balladry and American folk, happily free of gimmickry, comprising mandolin, violin, banjo and cello bobbing and weaving in rare displays of unanimity. Singer Justin Ringle’s tenor is pure James Blunt, a lazy male’s idea of Sarah McLachlan, fluttering away to falsetto on a dime. Other adjectives would be “rustic,” “bucolic,” things like this, but the album’s lighthearted passion and obliviousness to its own adventurousness go a long way toward its real definition. A —Eric W. Saeger






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