Half-Handed Cloud As Stowaways in Cabinets of Surf, We Live-out in Our Members a Kind of Rebirth

Half-Handed Cloud As Stowaways in Cabinets of Surf, We Live-out in Our Members a Kind of Rebirth
On their fifth full-length, Half-Handed Cloud have effectively out-conceptualized labelmate Sufjan Stevens. John Ringhofer (leader and prime mover behind the project) is the master at stuffing small musical spaces full of detail, and this is no exception. The 25 tracks on Stowaways hop from bar to bar with '60-/'70s-inspired "doo-de-doo" vocals layered over little clutches of ever-changing instrumentation. Each burst of banjo or oboe propels a compact musing on the connection between water and blood, the mechanics of caisson engineering, travelling to the moon, bicycles and the Centigrade scale. Water holds the album together loosely, as Ringhofer continually returns to its extended imagery as it relates to movement, purity and spaces between people and the divine. It's heady stuff, but the quick, freewheeling style makes it possible to breeze past the brain cramps and right to the "doo-de-doo" fun. (Asthmatic Kitty)