The Ruffled Feathers' Oracles is ambitious
Brimming with trumpet, mandolin, and ukulele in addition to the more standard pop-rock instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, the music of the Ruffled Feathers is ambitious enough to justify the “chamber pop” label that the quintet is often tagged with. And speaking of ambition, it takes a lot of it to fill an album with ruminations on Chinese history (“Canals of Suzhou”), doomed putsches (“Blueprints for Our Failed Revolution”), and all manner of obliquely sketched personal drama.
For all that, the Ruffled Feathers could stand to work on the “pop” side of the equation, as there aren’t a lot of hooks to be found on Oracles. As charming as she can be, Gina Loes, who does most of the singing, isn’t exactly a vocal powerhouse, and the invariably flat backing vox provided by a couple of the guys in the band don’t help.
Those criticisms aside, the Ruffled Feathers are certainly up to something interesting. If they can rise to the level of their aspirations, they just might turn into something great.