STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 152056-22213 LABEL: Asthmatic Kitty FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Oscar Hyde
John Ringhofer's been making music through the Half-Handed Cloud moniker for nearly a decade and a half now under the aegis of Sufjan Stevens's Asthmatic Kitty label. John's songs are as quirky as Sufjan's (at the very least) but also substantially more explicitly Christian; almost every word here's taken verbatim from various translations of the New Testament. I wasn't understating the quirkiness, by the way; this is an album that features ducks, microwaves, zippers, and radiators as instruments alongside clarinets, children's organs, trombones, and tiny choirs, all because of Ringhofer's firm belief that everything is art. The result is something joyously and explosively creative-the band overflows with so many ideas that they can barely stick to a song for much more than a minute before jumping to a new tack, altogether racing through 18 songs or song fragments in a mere 26 minutes. Nothing feels disjointed here, though; the album's up there with the best of Guided By Voices or Olivia Tremor Control, everything flowing perfectly, one theme to another, as Ringhofer flits from early Christian hymn to early Christian hymn. It's a ramshackle masterpiece and an easy contender for my favourite Christian album this year.
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