Label: Other Electricities Release date: 15/09/2009 Website: Official MySpace Buy: Amazon Black Feather came out of nowhere to become one of my favourite new discoveries of the year. An ex-member of Jaga Jazzist, the Norweigan multi-instrumentalist Harald Froland has crafted a gorgeous, rolling sea of music for his first record. Think of a folksy version of Sigur Rós, or Elliott Smith’s post rock band, for lazy comparisons. From the opening of first track ‘The Cut’, which tumbles in to life with a cascade of piano and strings that washes over a simple acoustic guitar line, it's wonderful. Everything is washed in a beautiful, sleepy haze that builds and expands as drums kick in and a fuzzy, shoegazey wall builds and builds before fading away again. With that, the album’s formula is established, and continues in to ‘Shake Me Awake’ – an apt title, as a chiming piano and noisy guitar tone cut through the dreamlike ambience. Froland’s voice is suitably soft and calming, and the perfect accompaniment. The album then peaks, unfortunately a little early, with ‘Razor Blade’, a seven minute masterpiece that sounds absolutely huge. Stadium-ready spacy guitars swirl and battle with jittery drums and glockenspiel that hide a delicately picked acoustic. It’s beautifully uplifting and packed with tiny subtleties and hidden parts that fade in and out of the crescendos. Then the album hits a bit of a wall: although the remaining tracks are great, from the waves of acoustic guitar on ‘American Zen’, to the more straightforward rock pace and screaming guitar of ‘If You Can’t Feel Yr Heart’, the proggy freakout of ‘Ardent Cloud’ and the slow fade out of album closer ‘The Ballad Of Ion Thief’, they kind of don’t really match up to ‘Razor Blade’, which is miles beyond the rest. That’s the mix tape song, the one to put on repeat, whilst the other eight tracks are merely the best filler you’ve ever heard. The album’s main weakness however, aside from one of the songs being just too good, tends to be the lyrics. Froland’s voice is great, and although usually what he’s singing is impossible to determine amongst the haze, the few moments when you can actually make out the lyrics are disappointing. Take the album’s opening lines: Adamantium eye/you look so dry/how come you never cry/all the tears you keep/hiding so deep/what would you do/to see something new. Cat-sat-mat simplicity doesn’t really seem to fit quite so well with the otherwise impressive scale of Silhouette, but to be honest, it is a minor detractor from what is a beautiful album, and an amazing surprise from someone just starting out releasing music on his own. Whilst nothing new or perfect, and probably not something that will capture you in the same way as the two lazy comparisons above, it displays a wonderful disposition towards actually creating something organic, something that ebbs and flows, rather than simple songwriting. Black Feather takes his place firmly in the ‘ones to watch’ column. Rating: 7/10