Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

The Fauns, a Bristol based shoegaze 5 piece with a sprinkling of pop and a hint of stirring bass lines, have released their second studio album since their 2009 self titled debut. This really is the show-you-what-we’re-made-of album for The Fauns since their build up of support has seen them playlisted on BBC 6music and backed by the likes of Lauren Laverne.

So, what are they made of? On the surface it would seem like an album of sparkly chiming and breathy singing for a cinematic dreamy ambience. ‘Point Zero’, ‘Rise’ and their single ‘Lights’ are lullabies, echoing and hypnotizing, leaving you swaying from side to side. Lights makes sense as their choice of single, it’s got that pop hook that these songs really need. Sure, it’s peaceful and fuzzy, but it’s also a feel-good fun song. This is where The Fauns pull it out of the bag, pin pointing the pop potential and extra ingredient that their songs need. Let’s face it; you might fall through all 11 tracks in a complete daze without this skill.

Then we have the comparatively edgier tracks, which are more guitar based and grungy with grizzly vocals from lead singer Alison. These tracks, like ‘With You’ and ‘Nothing Ever,’ provide some intrigue and attitude from an otherwise sleepy experience. But it is towards the end of the album where it really gets interesting, I just wish I didn’t have to push through the wall of mist to get there. ‘4am’ is without a doubt the stand out song of Lights. It’s reminiscent of The XX, with some of that pop influence. If more of the album were like 4am I would have sat up in my chair for The Fauns. I want to shake them and ask why there wasn’t more of this? They have missed a trick here.

The final song, ‘Give Me Your Love’ is a pleasant love song to round it off with and the strong drum beat partnered with the echoing vocals and a divine melody evoke the feeling of an 80’s prom night love song. The light guitars towards the end turn it into something quite beautiful to conclude the album.

So, that’s quite a diverse mix in terms of the feel of Lights, as a whole piece of work. Combine this with the fact that the poor choice of song listing led to all the good stuff pushed back to the end means that overall, their aim is unclear aim and it was less than inspiring.  However, the shining tracks of Lights, such as 4am and Give Me Your Love, speak volumes. This album is a shoegaze haze but it is seasoned nicely with their talent for writing a good pop song.

Sylvie Metcalfe

 

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