House With No Home, the latest album by Horse Feathers, is a positively gorgeous bummer. The Portland, Oregon-based combo (currently gigging with Joe Pug) is fronted by Justin Ringle, whose tenor voice seems as wispy and fragile as the light strums and delicate finger-picking that form the backbone of his songs. But what he lacks in aural aggressiveness, he more than makes up for with the aching beauty of his melodies and the timelessness of the themes in songs such as "Curs in the Weeds," which asks the rhetorical question, "Won't you agree how the winter could bring the darkest spring?" Unfortunately, string players Heather and Peter Broderick, who add immeasurably to the recording's impact, aren't part of the current tour, leaving multi-instrumentalists Nathan Crockett, Catherine O'Dell and Sam Cooper to pick up the slack. But Ringle will be present, musically and lyrically evoking harsh landscapes with emotional honesty and plainspoken grace.
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