Æ: Aglet Eaters

The Fauns – The Fauns (2010)

Posted in Album, Review by R on July 19, 2010

I think this album is psychic.

I’m usually all about maximum feasible objectivity when discussing an album, trying not to let what I feel get the better of me and instead aiming to express what I think the music is meant to sound like. However, in this case, I am writing for myself, because The Fauns‘ self-titled album can read minds.

I remember feeling a bit low when I first played it. It’s a bit of a risk exposing yourself to a new piece of music when you’re in a negative frame of mind. Actually, it’s a bit of a risk exposing the music to you, because it might wind up irreversibly tainted by your black mood and beautiful shoegaze doesn’t deserve that at all.

Then again, maybe that is precisely why I subjected the Fauns to me. Already familiar with their brand of blisspop, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when they sympathetically enveloped me in their shimmery fuzz, understanding and forgiving me the mistakes I’d made that had put me in this sticky, muggy mood.

It was easy enough, of course, to zone out and drift along with the current. Before long, however an arresting phrase wafted in and out of focus. “Calm down/It’s going to be all right” it said. An involuntary public frown – it had vanished so quickly, maybe I’d imagined it? No, there it was again. I looked down to see what this windswept song was called making a note calling ‘Road Meets The Sky’ the Psychic Song.

Two tracks later, it was re-tagged The First Psychic Song when ‘Come Around Again’ dropped the unsettlingly sympathetic line “stay calm/no harm/will come/to you.

And when I listened to the album again, it was re-re-tagged One Of The Psychic Songs. This was when the incredibly, overpoweringly, so-very-genuinely supportive ‘Understand’ caught my attention with the disguised profundity in the simple lyric “When hope is gone/I’ll understand” –

Yet how could the Fauns NOT understand? They’ve been there and beyond. They know what you’re feeling because they’ve felt the same and they helplessly, belatedly reach out to you with ‘Fragile’ – the only moment on the album they devote to their own desolation. ‘Fragile’ is beautiful in its precision – through limiting each line to a two-syllable mantra, it manages to convey everything about a single sad instant – right down to what time of day of the week it is. Juxtaposing a phrase like “perfect/moment” seamlessly with “fragile/…broken” it is filled with tragic splendour. It closes with the same false disaffection that launched it, murmuring with a fatal sort of dejection “heartbeat/slowing” and finally “inside/broken.

Like I said, I usually strive to be neutral. But this album is a shape-shifting empath, therefore I can only offer you an interpretation of what it says to me. Hopefully, you hear what I do, in which case… phew – objectivity prevails.

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4 Responses

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  1. Jim said, on July 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    What a beautifully-worded review for a beautifully- sounding album! I especially liked the review of “Fragile,” which is my own personal favorite track from the album. I also liked the concept of exposing yourself to an album vs. exposing an album to yourself — then realizing, essentially, that it almost had to happen that way, because the songs/album were “psychic.”

    That has always been the way I’ve felt when I suddenly hear music for the first time that so perfectly captures something I’ve been feeling or thinking. It’s a phenomenon I refer to as “self-expression through someone else’s expression.”

    “But this album is a shape-shifting empath, therefore I can only offer you an interpretation of what it says to me.” Like I said, a beautiful review for a beautiful album — and although I generally don’t believe in the idea of “psychics,” it certainly does feel as if this album by The Fauns — AND this review itself — were written somehow by others that could read my own mind…

  2. Radhika said, on July 20, 2010 at 5:46 am

    It wouldn’t matter to me if I never got a single comment ever again because this one just made my life 🙂

    • Jim said, on July 20, 2010 at 8:43 pm

      Radhika, you are far too kind! Thank you, though, as your comment to my comment just made MY day! 🙂

      • Radhika said, on July 21, 2010 at 4:11 am

        I am not too kind, I am just the right amount of kind 😉

        This mutual mind-reading could go on for a while at this rate BUT I MEAN WHAT I SAY, okay?


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