A near-perfect three-minute gem that recalls acts like Stars and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart in its unpretentious expression of despair.
Intent isn’t content. They’re not tied together, and the former isn’t beholden to the latter. Two peas and all that. In some instances, they’re may even appear contrapuntal.
This is the case, I believe, in Starry Eyed Cadet’s candy-sweet “Feathers,” which was initially written as a reaction to gun-related violence in America. Different people cope in different ways, certainly, and in this new tune from the indie pop quintet, the sonics veer from hate and edge towards forgetting.
“We’re hurting because of the loss,” the band says in a statement, alluding to a victim close to them. “We felt like birds who got their wings clipped,” they added, bemoaning the sense of powerlessness brought about by violence.
There’s a dark-clouds quote (unfortunately attributed to Rudy Giuliani) that goes, “Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.” And I bring it up because it’s a perfect illustration of how the logical world frowns upon (or altogether shrugs off) the power of art as mobilizer—and, subsequently, as balm for the soul—during moments of great difficulty.
Yes, hope is a strategy, and in this instance it takes the form of a near-perfect three-minute gem that recalls acts like Stars and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart in its pretense-less expression of despair: a despair that immediately takes wing at a time when it should be shedding it.
That kind of mindful hyper-focus—evident in its hook-laden guitars, hushed singing, and sure-footed rhythms—allows for message to not so much take a backseat but untether itself to the verbal. What it chooses to verbalize, however, it does so in a trance—“All the hatred and the guns turn into flowers in the sun”—and the song finds itself as an artefact that’s beyond speech, sound, or subject.
In the end, it’s a quiet, peaceful prayer.