I know exactly what will launch one-woman-band Tickley Feather from her current level of buzzy sub-notoriety to national indie super-star. Someone just needs to slip a copy of this album to Sofia Coppola, who will realize that it would make the absolutely perfect soundtrack to her next dream-like film filled with achingly beautiful melancholy. In fact, this album even opens with “Buttshot,” just like Coppola’s “Lost in Translation!” (after a little droney intro that is) It’s a perfect match! The closing scene of this film, set to the song “The Daylight” or maybe “Keyboards is Drunk” will bring movie-goers to tears and send them immediately rushing to their nearest record store for a copy of this LP.
It’s a really hard mood to nail, so how does Tickley Feather do it? The formula seems pretty basic: lo-fi Casio keyboards, simple haunting tunes and lots of reverb. But the real Tickley Feather secret weapon is her voice, which is what really takes the mood and the beauty of the music over the top. It actually reminds me of Annie Lennox. It also makes the “lo-fi” really work, because everything has this diamond in the rough feel. Even a really great singer with pristine backing music recorded in a million-dollar studio would just sound like mundane blah. This, however, sounds really special. I seriously can’t deal with most music which is supposed to be “pretty” or “sweet” or “nice” but Tickley Feather’s stuff works because it’s got plenty of rough edges. This will appeal more to fans of Tom Waits than Tori Amos.
My only complaints with the record would be that I actually wish some clean singing would peek out of the fog now and then because it’s that good, and the album seems kind of short, with several songs being less developed than they could be. But, you know, changes to those qualities might just upset the delicate and perfect balance here.
I was kindly sent this nice LP by the folks at Badmaster Records, who asked that I point out that they still have vinyl copies available. The CD is out on Paw Tracks, but when you’re in your bedroom on a rainy day and you realize you need to listen to that Tickley Feather song because it’s exactly how you’re feeling at that moment, you’ll want to put a vinyl record on the turntable, won’t you?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008