Horse Feathers
House With No Home


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
December 5th, 2010 | 22 replies | 6,482 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Horse Feathers takes your ears and mind to a distant, wintry location.

Album artwork can be utilized to accomplish a number of different things. It might be generally agreed upon that most artists aim to represent their music through the cover. However, a number of artists make them ironic, humorous, flashy, or appealing to one’s visual senses…hell, some musicians don’t even care in the slightest sense what shows up on the front of their records, so they leave it blank or slap a random picture on it that carries no meaning or insight whatsoever. Whatever the artist’s attitude ends up being, it is a relatively rare occurrence when the artwork invokes the exact style of the music that it represents. That is the case for Horse Feathers’ House With No Home, a decidedly winter-themed, rural folk album that is every bit as charming and picturesque as the cover art would suggest.

House With No Home is dominated by elegant strings, gently sung (sometimes whispered) vocals, and soft strumming acoustic guitars. It isn’t anything that avid fans of stripped-down indie haven’t heard before; everything on this album has already been performed in some fashion by the likes of Iron & Wine, Elliott Smith, or more particularly, Bon Iver. However, Horse Feathers pin down the indie-folk genre perfectly, and they experiment enough within that predetermined sound to make it their own. The stunning piano notes of “Helen” lend a bit of elegance to House With No Home, while various horn sections in songs like “Father Reprise” can almost give the album a jazzy vibe. The female vocals come by way of cellist Heather Broderick, whose feminine touch only serves to expand on the record’s already extremely diverse sonic palette. Horse Feathers have an array of styles in their arsenal, and they utilize them all effectively here to create an ambient masterpiece that puts you right in the midst of the snowy farmstead depicted on the record’s cover.

The sensitive crooning of lead vocalist Justin Ringle also plays a valuable role in setting up the album’s snow globe atmosphere. His voice is smooth and sweet, with a slight tinge of reassuring familiarity to make the listener feel right at home. In fact, Ringle’s vocals are so soothing that they almost cover up the bleak, emotionally vacant lyrics that exist throughout House With No Home. For as comforting as the record sounds, its lyrics paint an entirely different portrait; one of angst, loneliness, and depression: “How our sun has gone away, there aren't days…there's just different gray.” The downtrodden lyrics are also reflected in the album’s title, one that seems to imply that it is some sort of emotional attachment that makes a home, not four walls and a roof. The notion stands to reason, but it is only depressing because Horse Feathers seem to spend the majority of the album lamenting on their inability to acquire that “at home” feeling. It is important to note, however, that the glum nature of the lyrics does not affect the album’s overall aura, which maintains an inviting personality thanks to the serene instrumentation.

To put it simply, House With No Home is like a winter spent in the countryside. A fresh blanket of snow covers the hills…horse-drawn wagons trot along in the street, leaving a trail of tiny hoof prints behind…it’s very rural, it’s very wintry, and it’s all contained within a dense, tangible atmosphere. Careful acoustic strumming and swelling violin sections make the visualization of that atmosphere simple, all the while gracing your ears with some of the most breathtaking soundscapes to be found since Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago. The music allows you feel every snowflake that lands on your face, as well as the glow and warmth of a fireplace as you settle into the most comfortable nook of your quaint log cabin. House With No Home is, for all intents and purposes, a quintessential indie winter album that should not be overlooked by fans of soft, acoustic-driven music.



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user ratings (51)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Alex Robertson STAFF (3.5)
Nothing new here, but for those looking for a sort of expansion on folk albums such as "For Emma, Fo...


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2010



15340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Be sure to add this to your list of winter albums

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

Douglas
December 6th 2010



9061 Comments


Thistled Spring is solid, will check this out.

Zoo
December 6th 2010



3759 Comments


Curs in the Weeds is an awesome song and the album is solid over all.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 6th 2010



10585 Comments


Glorious review man, first post-promotion I see. Excellent work, as always!

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

tombits
December 6th 2010



3469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool review, congrats on the promotion. I think Thistled Spring just manages to edge this one out.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2010



15340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Xeno and tombits. I actually haven't heard Thistled Spring, so maybe I will make that the second Horse Feathers album that I will check out.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2010



7144 Comments


I have absolutely nothing to add to this very well-written SowingSeason tour de force.

Pos; need I say more? =)

PS - Although it is an old chestnut by now, I think this is a very cogent + solid "celebratory" Contributor review. This review plays to your strengths, and is a very well-timed and structured piece that demonstrates just how well you know your style and when it sounds best.

And okay I'll stop my fan-boy slobbering now ahahaha.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2010



15340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha this definitely isn't what I originally had in mind, I could have gone much bigger and much more epic - but this is something I have wanted to review for several days now, and since there are no new releases grabbing my interest (I might review either Hinder or Plain White T's - both are sure fire sub 2.5's - but I haven't found streams for them yet) I just decided to go with something that, like you said, matches my taste and my style.

jrowa001
December 6th 2010



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good album

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2010



7144 Comments


Have you heard Hinder's All American Nightmare single? I will confess to liking it. Or at least not minding it. Haha.

ALSO, the babe in its video is epic. Tattoos have never looked so sexay.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2010



15340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I heard the single; and as much as it pains me to say it...it isn't awful. But I still doubt the rest of the album will succeed at even being average.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2010



7144 Comments


Indeed. There's also already a second single out there (Put Your Records On or something of the sort); that's officially where the suckage starts. Song blows. Hard. All American Nightmare indeed.

Some albums' titles are just asking for it lol.

couldwinarabbit
December 6th 2010



6996 Comments


awwwwww^

FelixCulpa
December 6th 2010



1237 Comments


Congrats on the contrib spot!

I'm liking what I hear so far on their myspace.

BigTuna
December 6th 2010



5154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

all Horse Feathers albums are perfect for winter

Digging: Common - Nobody's Smiling

BigHans
December 6th 2010



26455 Comments


Congrats on the promotion, I can tell you were working hard for it/

Phideaux
December 6th 2010



1653 Comments


Good review as always. And congrats on the well deserved promotion. I'll be sure to check this out since I surely don't have enough wintry indie-folk.

Slum
December 6th 2010



2579 Comments


Good review dude, you're such a sputnikstud now.

PorkchopExpress
December 6th 2010



387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. I bought this album a few years ago after hearing the first 30 seconds of "Curs in the Weeds". It's a great winter album.

Also, I met Justin Ringle when I went to see them in concert. Super nice guy.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2010



15340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks everyone; I'm about to make a list of winter themed albums and this will definitely be on it



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