Music News

Feathers

We considered running for this review a roll call of every genre and reference point that Feathers touches upon in this five-song EP. But then we realized we simply don't have the space. Yes, this is merely an album of music. But it distills so many far-flung and arcane touchstones — from Kraftwerk to game-show themes to Morricone to garage psych to Middle Eastern tonalities to '80s electro to surf guitar to... you get the picture — that Synchromy evokes more images and emotions than seems possible in a mere 19 minutes. Feathers' breadth only hints at its brilliance, though. The true talent of the Miami trio (augmented here by an ensemble cast that includes Tortoise drummer and production whiz John McEntire) lies in how it organizes such a vast palette into compact, complete sonic gems. More than 30 instruments are listed in the liner notes, from the familiar types to the not-so-familiar, like the "xylorimba," "musser ampli-celeste," and "electron sidstation." But whatever these instruments are, they're used mostly with elegant restraint, more likely to underscore than overwhelm. Synchromy is full of genre-lubed, stylistic changes, hair-pinning the album into playful knots, so just when a synth-driven, post-rock groove is thrumming strong, it segues into a midnight jazz-rock crescendo or longing, lamenting, string section coda. So instead of a meticulous list of what you'll find here, we'll give you what's in our gut: Feathers is really, really cool.
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Jonathan Zwickel