On Black Prairie’s debut, Feast of the Hunters’ Moon, listeners caught an introduction to the broad musical inclinations of The Decemberists members Chris Funk, Nate Query and Jenny Conlee and fellow Portland musicians Annalisa Tornfelt and Jon Neufeld, classic instrumental string-band tones mixing with the vibrant bounce of Romani music and bursts of Tornfelt vocal-led pop. A Tear in the Eye is a Wound in the Heart, out Sept. 18 via Sugar Hill Records, offers a layered look into the five bandmates’ predilections and abilities, and a snapshot of a group that’s grown from a side project into a full-fledged band. Funk and Query initially hatched the idea for Black Prairie as a way to explore instrumental string band music during The Decemberists downtime. Those beginnings aren’t absent on A Tear in the Eye. The growth from idea into five-part whole is present, as Tornfelt’s sweetly harmonized pop takes the foreground, and the band digs deeper into the traditions studied on their debut.
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