Photo: Caitlin Lindsey
Feathered Rabbit’s sound hits you in waves. There’s the sultry lounge essence and smoky jazz groove, both wafting with a natural ease. That’s met with a wallop of punchy, gravelly blues and swampy psychedelia that swirl together in a patchwork of sound swatches belonging to a forgone era of American music.
Complex and layered, it feels like the result of pain-stricken attention to detail, laborious rehearsals and careful forethought. In reality, though, it’s anything but that for the Oklahoma indie outfit. The band might even call it a happy accident.
“We quit talking about stuff,” singer Morgan Hartman said. “We just act on it and use our intuition. Our music can feel hard to talk about because we almost feel like we are the medium and everything plays itself out.”
Indeed, the Feathered Rabbit you hear isn’t the one Hartman set out to create back when she approached Kyle Mayfield (Junebug Spade, Larry Chin), but they like the picture they are painting anyway.
Those early sessions were aimed at sunny acoustic pop not unlike Mayfield’s previous work in The Uglysuit, which organically gave way to a different kind of music than either necessarily expected. The addition of Isaiah Sharp (guitar) and Sam Welchel (drums) only stirred the pot.
“It was supposed to be folky. I was new to living on my own, and every thing was looking up,” Hartman said. “Pretty quickly, we went to a darker place. It’s not a settled matter even still. We’re still trying to hone in on exactly what kind of sound we want to have, but that’s working itself out as we continue to learn.”
Many acts aim for ’40s and ’50s romanticism and a sonic palate of the ’60s and ’70s, but few can execute with the authentic, effortless charm Feathered Rabbit can.
Hartman believes a childhood filled with oldies might have helped rein it all in so seamlessly.
“I’m a big nerd, always have been. I watched a lot of musicals and old movies, and that music seeped through it,” Hartman said. “My grandma is pretty much who raised me, and that’s what we had … but I loved it. It felt right to me, not a punishment in the least.”
Ten songs are written for the band’s first full-length album — which follows a well-received debut EP in 2012 — with just a couple songs left to finish before heading into the studio. It’s an exciting time for the band, and Hartman is positive that following those creative gut instincts leads into a stronger sense of identity.
“It will be far easier to control the outcome. We’ve been through a lot, and the songs will reflect that,” she said. “It’s been intense, and I want to make people feel what it feels like. That’s what I’m really hoping to accomplish with these songs.”
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