Ribbon of Fear
Ribbon of Fear is a totally solid K Records release that places emphasis on humble production and a certain lo-fi artistic quality. My partner, endlessly amused by my penchant for unsophisticated music, asked if K Records isn’t “that label that will put out anything.” While I did mockingly protest, for a band on the label, the difference between recording in a studio or a basement is negligible. Hornet Leg—a band comprised of Portland, Oregon transplants—is no different.
The album title—and the title track—refer to the lyric, “Sometimes she cries a ribbon of fear.” In fact, most of the songs are named after their own lyrics. “Wait” talks about waiting. “Ruined My Life” is about how “It’s so hard to say/But I think I ruined my life.” I’m also pretty sure there’s a reference to unplanned pregnancy in there—a feminist topic if there ever was one. “Snake Oil” references nostrums. You get the idea.
The band mixes elements of 1960s rockabilly with influences like the New York Dolls and The Shaggs. While the Hornet Leg pastiche may not be wholly original—the vocals are not always harmonious, and the production is not always tight—that doesn’t stop Hornet Leg from having fun making a hell of a nice debut album. Listening to their jams on a chilly Sunday night, curled up with a mug of chamomile tea and my knitting, I felt like the house party had come to my place. Not bad for a drowsy evening on the sofa.