I have always thought of The Black Feathers as being this country’s answer to the Civil Wars (or vice versa depending on which duo you came across first.) But it never seemed like a lot of fun being in The Civil Wars and their perpetual output of break-up songs before, in an act of self-fulfilling prophecy, they imploded quite spectacularly. The Black Feathers, however, seem to have the ingredient missing from their Nashville counterparts, something that means that even when singing post-relationship laments such as opener Take Me Back, you sort of know that everything will work itself out in the end, less a Romeo and Juliet pairing of star-crossed lovers, more a musical …well, Ross and Rachel.
It’s a positivity, which flavours the album, so that even when things aren’t going quite so well for the people in their songs, it is reflective, looking for hope and silver linings, rather than melancholic and self-pitying. Similarly the usual cheap clichés are avoided, no screen doors were slammed and no pick-up trucks were harmed in the making of this album, possible a first for such a country infused outing.
But when you get down to it the quality of the songs is what really matters here and in terms of vocal harmony you will rarely find better. Homesick in particular is an amazing showcase of this talent, with minimal music to underpin it, the strength of the voices, crossing each other, then closely knitting together, swirling around each other, complementing and contrasting as required is often breath-taking.
With the massive rise in popularity of country music on this side of the water and the fight back in the folk community for a return to some of its more traditional pastures, this album puts The Black Feathers front and centre of those burgeoning scene.