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March 16, 2009 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Faunts – Feel. Love. Thinking. Of.

Emerging from the permafrost of Edmonton, Canada, comes Faunts, bearing a second LP, the aptly titled Feel. Love. Thinking. Of. Their debut was primarily comprised of instrumental post-rock. Following a transitional EP titled M4, they have now moved towards a more electronic and lyrical sound that can at times recall the icy balladry of fellow Canadians, The Junior Boys. This new aesthetic fits them just as snugly as their earlier extended guitar workout form did, but also has the effect of moving them from the overpopulated post-rock corner into an area that has not been explored quite as much as one might think.

As clichéd as this might sound, the icy north of the American continent is clearly conducive to the creation of disco-driven pop balladry, and with the benefit of hindsight, their progression into this territory was as inevitable as that of a glacier. To Faunts’ credit, their adoption of a post-New Order sound has not been made without care. Their vocals are affecting but not overly sugary, and they still allow their guitars to crunch through the ice every now and then, either to create a counterpoint, or to lift a melody up to loftier heights. This approach creates a key point of difference with the songwriting of The Junior Boys, whose work can at times lack the muscular riffing that Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook would occasionally bring to bear on New Order classics like ‘Temptation’ and ‘Everything’s Gone Green’. Take ‘Out on a Limb’ for example, where an almost funky guitar line propels a club-ready melody forward into the kind of overdriven space that their peers from Ontario are yet to explore.

Another iteration of this analog approach is deployed on ‘Lights are Always On’, where guitars, shakers and live bass chop back and forth, paving the way for a love-weary vocal line to coalesce wonderfully out of the sonic ether. Faunts prove themselves to be master technicians, equipped with a varied arsenal of palm muted guitars, rolling floor toms, pitch-shifted synth lines and pedal pyrotechnics. The only complaint one might level at the quintet is that the simple beauty of their vocals can get lost amidst the dense crystalline structures that they attempt to construct on some songs, particularly in the album’s second half. Still, Feel. Love. Thinking, Of. is an excellent work, and should freeze nicely alongside So This is Goodbye in the field of late-night disco ballad ice sculpture work.


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