Black Prairie | Feast Of The Hunter’s Moon

Sugar Hill (2010)
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  April 7, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars

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Admire the Decemberists’ meticulous sea-shanty soundscapes but can’t stand Colin Meloy’s word-nerd volubility? Black Prairie are for you: this new Portland outfit has three of the five Decemberists — bassist Nate Query, accordionist Jenny Conlee, and guitarist Chris Funk — doing mostly instrumental bluegrass-based stuff that puts just as much emphasis on atmosphere but far less on, well, whatever it was that The Hazards of Love was about. In opener “Across the Black Prairie,” they spike an eerie goth-blues drone with unexpectedly jumpy zydeco licks, and “Ostinato del Caminito” presents a kind of acoustic speed metal (word to Rodrigo y Gabriela). Violinist Annalisa Tornfelt supplies vocals on a handful of tunes, including the sensual “Crooked Little Heart” and “Red Rocking Chair,” the latter of which suggests a low-rent version of Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’s Raising Sand. For the most part, though, Feast of the Hunter’s Moon (title by Meloy, methinks?) luxuriates in its lack of lyrics.

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