The Sacred and Profane
On paper, so much seems wrong with a revered industrial-music production crew teaming up with the pretty face of a borderline Christian pop-rock group. Sadly, someone turned off that particular filter of forethought when okaying Fauxliage and their self-titled debut LP. Yes, kids, this really is Front Line freakin’ Assembly playing behind the girl who sang “Kiss Me.”
Granted, these artists aren’t quite strangers, Sixpence None the Richer’s Leigh Nash having already done a song with Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber’s more populist act Delerium. Nor are we dealing with rookies here; at a minimum everything on Fauxliage is musically competent. Frankly, it should be reassuring to find the FLA boys weaving plangent guitars around Nash’s lazily sweet pipes on songs like “Without You,” just to know they can.
Reassuring it’s not. Instead, it’s disconcerting to hear this duo so desperately far afield from the aggressive music that built their careers. Fauxliage features decent wordless interludes “Magic” and “Viking” and others’ mixes of a track called “Rafe,” but otherwise the electronics of FLA, Delerium, and related projects like Intermix are weak to the point of transparency.
Leeb and Fulber smooth out an entire album’s production for Nash’s benefit, so that there’s little overpoweringly goth, ambient, synthpop or EBM about it. Dour verses and classical piano figures in “All the World” ultimately resolve to a major-key happy ending, for example, while the clicking drums and bass of “Someday the Wind” have the nerve to suggest tropicalia.
This makes Fauxliage different from and far sadder than intentional genre-swapping that smacks of parody, like Billy Joel’s classical music. Aimed at and even doomed to miss AAA radio, Fauxliage is full of wispy, unconvincing moodiness better suited for the likes of Sia and Zero 7. It’s musical misplacement of the lowest order.