The universe is making music all the time

Step Right Up: Tu Fawning

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Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

Tu Fawning comprises of Corrina Rep (vocals, guitar, drums), Liza Rietz (vocals, violin, percussion, keys), Toussaint Persault (brass, guitar, piano, percussion) and Joe Haege (drums, guitar, vocals). Outside of Tu Fawning, many projects are on the table with solo albums, being tour members of Menomena and Viva Voce, and Haege’s other band 31 Knots. In 2012, Tu Fawning’s ‘A Monument’ sees the collaboration of all four members creating their distinct gothic drama warped sound.

Tu Fawning hail from Portland, Oregon and earlier this year released their second album, ‘A Monument’ on City Slang. The Portland four-piece work from a large canvas of sound creating a musical kaleidoscope. Both familiar yet unknown. Dark shades of apocalyptic doom. Light rays of hope. Magical and imaginative. Mysteriously beautiful.

The wide range of instrumentation and immaculate layers of sound so clearly evident throughout, makes ‘A Monument’ a stunning tour de force. The diversity of their sound is breathtaking. Echoes of new-wave dream pop, 80’s post punk, R&B, indie-rock, folk, choral, classical are embedded in ‘A Monument”s rich tapestry. The opener and lead single, ‘Anchor’ is sublime. Glorious synths and keyboards over layers of percussion creates an otherworldly dream pop soundscape reminiscent of Beach House, which in my eyes is the highest possible praise. In fact, Corrina Rep’s formidable voice is somewhere between Victoria Legrand (Beach House) and Beth Gibbons (Portishead). Rep sings the first verse refrain ‘To complete my plans’ amidst an eerie, mysterious soundscape. It’s utterly divine. Rep sings ‘I’m the restless in your heart’ on the song’s outro creating a hypnotic and meditative effect. Next up is ‘Blood Stains’ which is a horns-ablazed R&B opus. Crashing drums, blazing horns, swirling synths and dramatic piano notes is the soundtrack to a David Lynch film. ‘Blood Stains’ could be early Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds or ‘Third’ era Portishead. Yes, it’s that good!

The tempo slows and dynamic changes on ‘Wager’. Softly strummed guitars and building drum beats are first heard before the song erupts into 80’s post punk sounds a la Siouxsie and the Banshees. The song closes with a warped sound of eerie harmonies and raging guitars with anthemic vocals, ‘There will be no confusion with this one I’m certain/In fact I would wager.’ My current favourite is ‘A Pose For No One’ with Repp’s lyric ‘Look into the camera, pose for no one’ the first words you hear. The song is wrapped in mystery and intrigue. A brooding guitar, layers of percussion, haunting vocals and eerie violins creates the album’s atmospheric centrepiece. ‘Your body is moving, I can’t find a face’ are the lyrics of the chorus that is in the vein of Feist and Arcade Fire at their peak. Marching drums and heavenly layered sounds percolate on ‘Build A Great Cliff’. It’s ‘A Monument”s dramatic climax. The chorus refrain of ‘Tell me what you see/ and tear it all down for me’ epitomizes ‘A Monument’ and the band themselves. A seamless array of sounds and textures are woven together, producing dramatic and timeless indie rock grandeur. The album closes with the epic ‘Bones’ with a stunning choral outro. Also, the extended intro (over 2 mins) is sublime post punk a la Liquid Liquid or Gang of Four. Take the opening instrumental cut alone for DJs and frenzied dancefloors! The choral outro blurs the boundaries yet again and confirms the timelessness of ‘A Monument’.


‘A Monument’ is out now on City Slang.

Written by admin

August 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm


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