Tuesday, May 13, 2008

tickley feather by tickley feather

Review by guest hipster: PWC

Ah, the discreet charm of the lo-fi, the ineffable beauty of homemade pop songs comprised of muffled guitar, of cheap Casio beats, of whispered vocals, of late night recording sessions alone in a bedroom. I find in lo-fi music a deep beauty, in the mystery and fragility of songs that sound as if they have been recorded on cassette tapes left in the basement, full of sounds that have long since surrendered to mold, an inorganic material experiencing organic decay. I think what I love most about lo-fi music is that, for me, I feel a kind of surrender to mortality, to the way of all things – music that doesn’t try to cutting edge, but rather is, from its very inception, technologically outdated and faded, music that admits, from the get go, the fact that time is passing inexorably, that these songs will be lost and forgotten with the march of the years.

So, saying that, I really love Tickley Feather’s production value. And song titles like “Night Chant” and “I’m Magic/Bathtime” I find to evocative and inviting. But in all honesty, I’m not into this record. Unlike fellow homemade pop stars Ariel Pink and Half-Handed Cloud, I don’t feel like there are classic verse-chorus pop songs lying beneath the surface. The songs feel fragmentary (which I find wonderful in the case of ghostly shards of sound like “Ooooo”), and while many of the songs do assume some form of pop-song format, none of them feel especially strong. The album feels more like off-the-cuff song fragments and sounds that Tickley Feather liked. I’ve tried getting into it, and while it would make pleasant background music to create an atmosphere of obscurantist hipster lounge, I find myself wanting to listen to fellow Paw Tracks artist Ariel Pink. Ariel Pink makes me feel like I’ve been invited into a secret, intimate late-night alternate pop-universe, while Tickley Feather feels more like what it appears to be on the surface – some cool stuff made on 4-track with little appeal outside of the intrinsic novelty and interest. I feel like more effort and thought behind the songs could yield far more interesting results.

Which Tickley Feather has every right to do. But for my part, I sense potential for something more friendly, more inviting and more personal, which would be something very edifying indeed.

mp3: "Night Chant" by Tickley Feather

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