So It Is With Us

Horse Feathers
(Kill Rock Stars)

There is an AM radio gentleness, or maybe tameness, that imbues “So It Is With Us,” the fifth release from Portland, Ore., indie folk band Horse Feathers. For better or worse, Horse Feathers plays like James Taylor on Quaaludes, at least if Taylor listened to Pure Prairie League to refine his light Americana with a country/western edge. Opening track “Violently Wild” seems like a misnomer if ever there was one, while “Violently Mild” seems remarkably more accurate. This isn’t to say that any of these qualities are bad by any means, but that there seems to exist here a certain idea of what American life is like, a cloying sweetness that embodies only a specific cultural experience. Still, there is a subtlety here that at least implies fellowship, and you can imagine the musicians having a good time plying their trade.