Album Review of Born of the Sun by Faun Fables.
Release Date: Jul 22, 2016
Record label: Drag City
Genre(s): Folk, Pop/Rock
After five years, pagan psych-folk outfit Faun Fables return with their sixth full-length, Born of the Sun. Unlike its most recent predecessors, Light of a Vaster Dark and The Transit Rider, this is a collection of songs recorded over a period of years based on centered themes rather than a structured concept. Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Dawn McCarthy offers an earthy series of meditations on the ritual aspects of everyday life: raising children and embracing the wilderness, family, friends, and events of home and hearth.
Faun Fables play a particular brand of neo-psych-folk or freak-folk that was popularized by Devendra Banhart and others in the mid-2000s, indebted to romanticized notions of the 1960s folk revival and outsiders from Neil Young to Daniel Johnston. They're all great touchstones, but unfortunately, Faun Fables struggle on Born of the Sun with clumsy arrangements and too much wide-eyed eclecticism. Their website uses the outdated pejorative "gypsy" to convey their bohemian idealism, which aptly illustrates the problem: a modern band lacking self-awareness will invariably struggle to avoid clichés.
Faun Fables is the long-running project of Dawn McCarthy; since 1999 it has been a vehicle for her brand of hippie, rustic folk, made with assistance from Nils Frykdahl, founding member of experimental rock group Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. While previous efforts have seen the pair riff on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a play about trains, Born of the Sun is less thematically ambitious. Focusing on family and nature, it attempts to capture the joie de vivre of living a back-to-basics wild life, but mainly just sounds like a really crusty version of smug lifestyle bible Goop, with the pair singing poorly structured refrains such as “We never shower, we never shave / We just swim in the river and we never bathe” (good for you, guys!).
Trevor Lucas may be best known for the work he recorded with his wife Sandy Denny in the band Fotheringay, but prior to this, along with Jerry Conway, Lucas played bass in the multi-national Elektra signing ECLECTION. Though based in the UK, and produced by Bee Gees acolyte Ossie Byrne, the Canadian/Australian/ Norwegian/English act sounded entirely of the US West Coast. Eclection (**** Esoteric) was recorded and released in 1968.
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