Halos & Lassos
by Katie Sauro
Indie-rock aficionados oftentimes shy away from bands that write songs about theological concepts and the belief in God, content to compartmentalize said bands into the lame category of Christian rock. But you ain’t never heard Christian rock like this…
Combining the quirky instrumentation of Grandaddy, the stellar songwriting and falsetto of Elliott Smith, and yes, a quiet yet distinct focus on the search for God, is John Ringhofer, the one-man band and multi-instrumentalist behind the moniker Half-handed Cloud. The Berkeley-based singer/songwriter has just released his fourth collection of short (some only about a minute long), smile-inducing pop gems on Sufjan Stevens’ label, Asthmatic Kitty.
Ringhofer creates fun pop rhythms with an electronic omnichord and piano seeming to underlie each song, even the few slower acoustic numbers. He incorporates lots of different instruments, harmonization, and handclaps for playful songs with playful titles like “You’ve Been Faithful to Us Clouds” and “Feed Your Sheep a Burning Lamp.”
True, the lyrics explore the concept of God, but Christian rock this is not – it is simply a beautiful and eccentric dance-pop record that goes beyond easy songs about boy-girl relationship problems, revealing one man’s vulnerability to the masses.
For more information, visit www.halfhandedcloud.com or www.asthmatickitty.com.
Ringhofer makes his way through Seattle on Friday, May 5th at Sunset Tavern.