Indie folk is the basis of the music here. The opener, "The Same Sky", is comparable to early Iron & Wine in approach, but Feuerstack is not nearly the poet Sam Beam is.
Occasionally, some more layers are added to the arrangements, with mixed results. The percussion concocted for "Modern Warfare" is mesmerizing, however, the same can not be said for the rock injection of "Tambourine".
Feuerstack can slow things down and strip them out too much. When this occurs the songs begin to lose the listener. Strangely, the fewer components you're presented with, the less accessible a song becomes. That turns tracks like "Take Me" and "The Hill" into bland, almost dozy numbers.
There's no risk of that when Little Scream lends her vocals talents to the album. Tracks like the twangy "Leave Me Alone" and "Trees" are warm and comforting duets with glowing harmonies.
Tambourine Death Bed is a mixed bag of a record. It has tracks that beg for exploration with repeated listens. It also has tracks that, no matter how many times you absorb them, will still cause you nothing but boredom.
Michael Feuerstack plays The Piston in Toronto on May 23rd.
Best tracks: "Leave Me Alone", "Scorekeeper"
Track listing for Tambourine Death Bed:
- The Same Sky
- Modern Warfare
- Take Me
- Leave Me Alone
- The Hill
- Flowers In the City
- Bones In the River