England - Full Moon 208 - 08/21/13
London/Bedford/North Yorkshire quartet/quintet put out their second album a few months back, following their 2010 debut album, Steeple.
In-between they've put out the compilation Tidlings, compiling hard-to-get tracks from out-of-print singles etc. We should've looked upon Fain earlier
this summer, but...here we go.
Fain was launched on April 29th (my birthday!), but a teaser single track (shared for free online) All Returns hit our ears
in February - a cool track, promising for the upcoming album. When hearing the "single" I thought it did "...reflex goose bumps
and a slight hair-raising..." and it felt like "...a quick rush of blood to the head...". Jack Sharp (guitar and
vocals), Joe Hollick (guitar), Daniel Davies (bass), Tom Watt (drums), and Ross Harris (flute) pound out retro music for now; even though their music is a time machine
ride back to the early 70s, it sounds rather fresh and up to date. And, not to forget; very, very groovy. "All Returns" is a smashing song, like a said when reviewing
it back in February. From its quiet, careful opening, through its fuzz-drenched mid-theme, to the smooth landing. Brilliant. In fact I come to think of the legendary
Norwegian 70s band Prudence. "Empty Vessels" opens the album, and it sets the tone quite perfectly. This is a ride, and it goes backwards in time. Fain holds a
lot of folk-inspired swings and swirls, but all of a sudden a Sabbath riff appears. Just like that. There's a great variation of themes and moods throughout the album,
which makes Fain a nice journey (or a walk in the woods...) and a good experience. Besides "All Returns", "Hesperus", "Answer", and the closing "NRR" stand out
like favourite tracks. Another strength with Fain is that it clocks in at 45 minutes, which is a good thing for an album. Don't overdo what you do. Keep things
as short and simple as possible.
To sum up things: Wolf People still roam their old, mythical woods, and they've delivered a fain album. "I would fain improve
every opportunity to wonder and worship, as a sunflower welcomes the light" (Henry David Thoreau).
Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen