[sic] Magazine

A Grave With No Name – Feathers Wet, Under The Moon

On Feathers Wet, Under The Moon Alex Shields finally makes it out of his bedroom. The world is pretty scary place though, even Nashville where this new LP was incongruously laid down. As a consequence Shields tries to downplay his inherent vulnerability on a continuing journey away from no-fi intimacy. Stripped of the heavy reverb and pedals of Mountain Debris, Shields thus captains his vessel across ten tender landscapes with hesitancy. As such you have to be patient with Feathers as its fireworks never come. They’re only alluded to as parents might talk around a sensitive subject in front of their kids, feedback toasting the delicate chord progressions of “Candle”, for example.

Feathers’ beauty is in its detail: the haunting piano during the doom-folk finale of “Nursing Home”; the micro chirrups of violin in the high-and-lonesome “Before The Morning Comes”; very occasional Southern Rock licks that leave just as soon as they arrive. The single, “Orion”, is understandably more immediate, compromising its approachability, however, by lacking the depth of a track like “Under The Ice”, a disquieting, outdoorsy tale that creeps along similar to an Adrian Crowley composition.

Shields has already proved himself a master of the happy-sad sound and on Feathers he demonstrates a real knack for pairing carefully picked guitar lines with mournful strings, too. On the mesmeric “Your Ghost By The Lake”, for example, two acoustic strains intertwine, a blend of catchy melody and bleak melancholy that brings Mark Linkous to mind, Shields’ soft vocal once more in the realm of Jonathan Donahue. Feathers is not quite the thickening of the skin Shields’ temporary relocation may have promised, but it is an interesting series of baby steps, Shields blinking in the daylight of a new dawn.

Best track: “Your Ghost By The Lake”

~Feathers Wet, Under The Moon is released May 4th 2015 via Lefse.~