Eccentric pop auteur digs up vintage electronic instruments for hyper-melodic fourth album
Better known as a frequent Sufjan Stevens collaborator and touring band member, John Ringhofer has also spent the better part of this decade as the man behind Half-Handed Cloud,
crafting meticulously quirky pop songs with a Sufjan-esque laundry list of instruments. For his fourth release, the master of the one-minute pop song employs a lost ’80s instrument called an omnichord—a combination of an autoharp and a synthesizer—to create prancing drum-machine beats and bubbling bass lines. The usual intricate assortment of horns, pianos and marimbas return to fill out the sonic tableau, but the synthesized textures push Ringhofer toward a delightfully idiosyncratic white-boy soul aesthetic, resulting in the most focused, melodically punchy and accessible release in his catalog.