If one were to combine all of Stereolab's inspirations, the studio ideas behind the Beach Boys' studio work between 1968 and 1972, and every record that is somehow Tortoise-related, you'd have Feathers. As awkward and as dismissive as such a comparison might sound, there's perhaps no better way to describe this duo, because their debut EP, Absolute Noon is very much the product of a lot of studio work. It's instantly apparent that Feathers is a band full of people who know how to make music, know how to use the studio as an instrument and simply know how to make lovely, peaceful music.
Though Feathers is normally the duo of Eddie Alonso and Matt Crum, for Absolute Noon--the first in a series of EP releases--the band is augmented by three additional players, including Wilco's Mike Jorgensen and Tortoise's own John McEntire. This fact explains much, because Absolute Noon is very much indebted to the Chicago post-rock scene. Were it not for knowing about the involvement of McEntire and Jorgensen, one might be tempted to dismiss Feathers as simply latecoming imitators of a now-cliched musical genre. Instead, it shows that Feathers have the abiliity to create beautiful music with some of today's modern music innovators.
Even though the sounds on Absolute Noon might sound familiar, it's hard not to enjoy Absolute Noon. The gentle piano and marimba combination on "My Apple Has Four Legs" sounds not unlike a modernized take on Vince Guaraldi's famous Peanuts soundtrack. "Coral Rise" has a soft, soothing synthesized beat that's quite relaxing, and it's hard not to smile when "Old Cutler" comes on the radio. And let's not overlook "The Rise," either; the English horn instantly recalls the Beach Boys, and the overall song feels like a cool sea breeze on a hot California day.
Records hardly sound as lovely and as pleasant as Absolute Noon, and this is as fine a debut record as one could expect. Though a brief affair, it does illuminate Feathers as a talented band capable of creating beautiful, relaxing music.
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