[CELESTIAL FOLK] In 2009, before the release of its first album, Mimicking Birds opened for Glacial Pace label boss Isaac Brock's band, Modest Mouse, at Crystal Ballroom, and the audience chatter so overwhelmed the musicians they might as well have been flamenco guitarists providing background music for a busy tapas bar. Even in less-cavernous environs, songwriter Nate Lacy's spider-web-fragile folk doesn't command attention. It is pervasive in its quietude: Lacy sings in a trembling murmur, as if he's only half-committed to being heard, and plays guitar the same way, the squeak of his fingers on the fretboard filling nearly as much space as the chords he often seems to be suggesting more than strumming.
But for all its hushed, introspective qualities, the world Mimicking Birds invokes on record extends far beyond Lacy's navel. It doesn't reveal itself in a glance. Listening to the band is like peering at a drop of water in a microscope: The closer it's observed, the more its internal universe opens up.
With Eons, that universe has grown more lushly detailed. It's still centered on Lacy's delicate acoustic-guitar patterns and ghostly chill of a voice, but, abetted by drummer Aaron Hanson, bassist Adam Trachsel and producer Jeremy Sherrer, there's now a brilliant star system orbiting around him. Shimmers of distortion ripple across "Memorabilia" and "Wormholes," while throughout the record, various constellations of sitar, banjo and mouth harp glint in the distance. On "Owl Hoots," Sherrer envelops Lacy in a meteor shower of skittering drums and electronic ephemera, propelling him across his own astral plane. Lacy has always filled his lyrics with invocations of nature and the cosmos, of "planetary systems" and reservoirs filling with fluid. But on Eons, he isn't merely gazing at the stars—he's traveling among them.
SEE IT: Mimicking Birds play Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., with Wake Owl and Big Haunt, on Friday, May 23. 6 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.