Live: Horse Feathers @ Jericho Tavern, Oxford 15/09/2010


by Tarina Westlund

If you are into music that feels like soft breezes, echoes thrown into the wind, elegant caressing of the bow and haunting velvety voices, Horse Feathers from Portland, Oregon is your band. Their style is earthy and stable, relying on traditional folk form as a basis, yet they incorporate an ethereal and arty element that picks up the sound and converts it into a blissful, calming and compelling internal roar. Horse Feathers personify and express the internal turmoil anyone could experience at one point in time; yet they have managed to control the exteriorization of this feeling, measuring it carefully, mulling over lines and lovingly crafting every single minor imperfection to create a polished affair.

Justin Ringle is the front man, bringing visual action and despair into the picture. Sometimes stomping his feet, sometimes swaying with anxiety, sometimes fixing his sight into the crowd, he drives and leads the rest of the band into wavy journeys. Violin, mandolin, banjo, percussion, drums, cello – instruments pass from hand to hand in a gallant dance. The plucking of strings, the crashing of cymbals, the heavy beating of the bass drum, the in-crescendo and climax of the violin, the metallic roll of the saw… these are all the escapist features used from song to song, which blend into each other more often than not like a stream of secluded tales in a diary ardent to pour out.

Horse Feathers may not play with Peter Broderick anymore but they have come a long way to show that they are as fresh, fine and flawless as ever.

Words: Liane Escorza