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Tickley Feather

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Album Review

Tickley Feather's Annie Sachs has said that she records music to soothe herself, and that lulling quality stands out on her first album. Tickley Feather displays a unique mix of innocence and sophistication, ranging from snippets of children talking about magic to carefully layered pieces like "Night Train," which surround the listener with an almost dubby depth, but each song's hypnotic pull is what holds this delicate lo-fi collage together. Sachs swaths naively stiff drum machines, the most basic keyboard sounds, and her own wispy voice — which often sounds like she's singing in another language — in blankets of delay and reverb, transforming them into beguiling, slightly haunted-sounding pop as well as more abstract tracks. Her more structured songs, like "The Python," put plaintive melodies atop insistent, if muffled, rhythms, creating an intriguing push-pull of hesitance and impatience ("Buttshot" adds a puckish sense of humor to the mix). "Le Daylight" could soundtrack a David Lynch fever dream, its kitschy synth strings and waltz rhythm made woozy and surreal by masses of Sachs' distorted vocals teetering between harmony and discord. However, the pieces that are even more impressionistic are hit-or-miss: "Ooooo"'s wordless vocalizing and "1978 Fast/Xylophone/Leaking Roof"'s heavily processed found sounds add to Tickley Feather's air of homespun experimentation, but "Keyboard Is Drunk" is so formless that it threatens to break the album's spell. Despite the occasional tangent, Sachs' music is always evocative, especially on "Rain Bucket," which captures the feeling of curling up in the bedroom or basement with a four-track recorder during a storm. Even when it's noisy, it's somehow subtle; "Sorry Party"'s big drums and bassline rock out a bit, yet the song feels cavernously distant. Tickley Feather was four years in the making, but it never feels overcooked — if anything, it could stand to be a little tighter — but though Tickley Feather's music feels like it's still coming into focus, hearing it do so is fascinating.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Tickley Feather is the dreamy lo-fi collage-pop project of Philadelphia's Annie Sachs, a single mom who began recording music because she found the process soothing. Sometimes compared to Ariel Pink, Sachs spent four years crafting her songs in her living room and playing shows at friends' houses and a gig with Panda Bear before she went on tour with Animal Collective....
Full bio
Tickley Feather, Tickley Feather
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