An Attempt at a Mind-Expanding Record
What can one expect from a Northern California band with urgency to create some otherworldly sound and an intention of bringing its listeners on some wild, unimaginable ride? One can imagine a journey that would be perfectly complemented by an unrestrained soundtrack, but the new record by Faun Fables, Born of the Sun, is no such soundtrack. While interesting as it may be, Born of the Sun fails to encapsulate its listener and the bizarre sound of Faun Fables may be doomed to slip quietly into music oblivion.
If there is one thing to be said of the record label Drag City, it is that they continue to produce and release music that deviates from the norms of music today. That difference has spawned a group of people who have come to understand and expect their peculiar and often extraordinary brand. The label is responsible for producing albums by Joanna Newsom, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Ty Segall and, of course, Faun Fables. It is guaranteed that not all the music is going to be agreeable to listeners and that is going to be bizarre. These qualities, however, are the things that drive this label forward and they have done it again with the Oakland based band Faun Fables.
If one were to describe Faun Fables, roughly, they might be described as a sound similar to Man Man/Rasputina with the lingering qualities of early American Folk and prophetic imagery and beliefs. All of these things look great on paper, but if one mixes up too many things together, the results can often be disastrous. That is not to say that this record is disastrous by any means. It does in fact include a great deal of talented musicians and songwriters. The problem with it is that they have created a record that sounds more like music created for a cult. For instance the song “Wild Kids Rant” is a mix of Jethro Tull sounding flutes paired with a cacophony of howling voices that sound like something from a doomsday sect. All of the songs contain some sort of strange harmony especially “Goodbye” and “Madmen & Dogs.”
It seems that Born of the Sun is in search for that experimental, psychedelic America that so many continually attempt to locate in the otherworldly streets of the Bay Area. Their attempts are bold and it is an eccentric and fun record to listen to, but their aim to captivate the listener with prescient tropes misses the mark. One hopes, however, that this does not suffer the same fate of so many other records. Perhaps, one day though, a bored, inquisitive teen will stumble upon this album and discover the potential that was lost on this world years ago.