By The Fauns
Bands coming out of Bristol seem to suffer from a heightened expectation. The hand-me-down shoes of the Trip Hop and Indie Dance legends are big ones to fill, but The Fauns have an ace up their sleeve: not satisfied in merely being from the same part of the country, they went so far as to get Portishead producer/instrumentalist Geoff Barrow involved in the project, albeit only in a mentoring role.
Being a huge Portishead fan I made sure one way or another The Fauns made it into my collection, but don't expect to see any winks to the 90s Trip Hoppers here, The Faun's self titled debut is a whole other world stylistically. An upside down world where the specifics don't matter and everything is found in the broad washes of colour: the refreshing clear water softly cascading over you. This album will change how you listen to music. The songs aren't so much stories as raw unbridled emotions: the soundtrack to your life. Walk home listening to this on your iPod and everything you feel is magnified ten times: the happy will laugh, the sad will cry. Nothing ever stands out as a 'key element,' not even the vocals, which is what creates this wall of colour, where every melody is just part of a richer harmony that intertwine to create an unlikely tapestry of sound where the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.
Now this is all well and good, but such ethereal and euphoric soundscapes are unlikely to find their way onto Radio 1 (although they are featuring acoustically on BBC Bristol in the near future.) I really like this album, and I love the way it throws the rulebook out the window, but its novelty is in a way self defeating. Its an ironic comment on the way we listen to music,
but like so many ground breaking musical works I fear that it might not have the solid foundation to last and be built upon. Only time will tell the lasting impact though, for now lets revel in what is a fantastic piece of musical artwork. Don't buy expecting an album of songs, buy expecting beautiful and lush soundscapes with whispered half heard beguiling vocals: then you'll see it in its best light.