Feathers have been getting a lot of attention from various circles for the past few months. This collective of artists hails from the Northeast and has connections to the likes of Devendra Banhart, Nick Castro, and others. "Gnomeozoic Live" is the first availble CD-R, and though it is highly limited, it's quite memorable. One listen and you'll understand why this band has been receiving high praise.
On this recording, Feathers consists of eight members. These three tracks were recorded live, but with that many people involved it's never sparse or boring. "Old Black Hat With a Dandelion Flower" opens the set with hypnotically catchy melodies and bright, shimmering acoustic guitars. Layers of percussion and bass finish out the mix, but it's the vocals that really stand out here. The high-register twang that falls somewhere between Dylan and Banhart is instantly endearing. As the track progresses, you can imagine this being perfumed in the smoky halls of a San Francisco commune.
Feathers continue their hazy psychedelic journey with the quiet lullaby-like "Past the Moon." There's this beautifully innocent romantic feeling to this track that I can't escape. It's sincerely sweet even if it isn't supposed to be. A different vocalist handles the duties here, but he's no less impressive. "You're a living a vision of the people in the grave," he sings on the chorus. Smile... that's all you can do. This is a beautiful piece of music.
The final track on this all-too-short EP is the trancelike "Ibex Horn." Accented with sitar and distorted electric guitar, this is the most raucous of the songs on "Gnomeozoic." Extended guitar solos and tabla-inspired percussion take this track straight back to the bong-induced hallucinations of the '60s. This is like a magical LSD trip in aural form. You'd be well advised to strap on your headphones, close your eyes, and let Feathers help you float away on an acid-soaked cloud. This is great shit.
On only three songs, Feathers have me convinced of their excellence. I only wish this was longer. But good news, Feathers are currently putting the finishing touches on their debut LP. Until then, this will tide me over, but it's definitely my most anticipated debut of 2005. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (25 May, 2005)