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Faun Fables

Prog Folk

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Faun Fables Light Of A Vaster Dark album cover
3.98 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intro: Darkness (1:32)
2. Light of a Vaster Dark (4:17)
3. Housekeeper (6:05)
4. On the Open Plains (0:48)
5. Violet (5:31)
6. Interlude 1 (0:56)
7. Hollow in the Home (4:50)
8. Interlude 2 (1:01)
9. Parade (3:06)
10. Hear the Grinder Creak (4:30)
11. Interlude 3 (0:53)
12. Sweeping Spell (2:28)
13. O Mary (4:05)
14. Bells for Ura (2:00)
15. Hibernation Tales (2:26)
16. Outro: Light (5:06)

Total Time 49:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Dawn McCarthy / vocals, guitar
- Nils Frykdahl / guitar

- Meredith Yayanos / violin, percussion
- Kirana Peyton / vocals
- Cornelius Boots / clarinet, flute
- Mark Stikman / harmonica

Releases information

Drag City DC371CD

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FAUN FABLES Light Of A Vaster Dark ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(70%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FAUN FABLES Light Of A Vaster Dark reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars I can already tell I'm going to have to revisit this review sometime down the road after I've had more time to get to know it. Faun Fables were like that from the beginning for me, the 'beginning' being when I first discovered them through their 2004 breakthrough 'Family Album'. Even for a freak folk fan these guys are a bit odd.

As with the first couple of albums this one has hints of Comus influence at times, meaning dark, moody arrangements, often gutteral vocal phrasing, and sometimes raw lyrics. Dawn McCarthy edged away from sound that in favor of slightly more widely palatable songs in the mid-nineties, but this seems to be a return to earlier form for her.

As with the 2008 EP 'A Table Forgotten' and even 'Family Album', McCarthy's songs tend to center around home, family and relationships more than the band's other albums. But that's to say they're idyllic or introspective like "Pictures" and "With Words & Cake" were. "Housekeeper" for example belies its title with strident instrumentation, McCarthy's trademark (and eerily beautiful) throaty vocals, as well as alternating playful and slightly morbid violin courtesy of Meredith Yayanos, who also played on 'A Table Forgotten'.

And speaking of Yayanos, her presence (ala violin) is felt more here than on any prior Faun Fables release. For the most part the increased emphasis on strings is a positive one, as Yayanos adds a depth and Eastern European flavor to the music that McCarthy and partner Nils Frykdahl hinted at on previous releases but never quite to this extent.

The percussion is also much more evolved on this album, calling to mind at times the early self-released disc 'Mother Twilight', but much more eclectic and omnipresent. "On the Open Plains" with its Kate Bush-like syncopated drumming circa 'The Dreaming', as well as the almost pagan-sounding "Hear the Grinder Creak" are the best examples.

One more great addition is Cornelius Boots with his bass clarinet (and sometimes flute). McCarthy included a smattering of trumpet and clarinet on 2006's 'Transit Rider', but other than Frykdahl's occasional flute playing this is the first time a wind instrument has been prominently featured.

I haven't formed a complete opinion of the album as a whole yet, although I will end this review by giving it four out of five stars simply because it's a Faun Fables album and it holds up early as well as anything else they've done to-date. But it doesn't grab me (yet) like all the rest did almost immediately after I first heard them. This one is more mature and complex, reflecting I suppose the growth of the band itself and of McCarthy and Frykdahl's personal and musical partnerships in particular. And for that reason I expect it'll take some time for 'Light of a Vaster Dark' to click. But I've no doubt whatsoever it will, and the disc will grace my CD changer in the coming months in anticipation of that moment. Well recommended even if you've never heard the band before.


Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars FAUN FABLES is a duo from Oakland, CA, USA composed of singer-songwriter Dawn McCarthy and her life partner Nils Fryfdahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. No avant-garde metal to be found here though. This is pure psychedelic folk and art rock from beginning to end. This kinda reminds me of what a chamber rock band might sound like if they tried to write beautiful haunting and melodic folk songs because of the richness of many instruments on the album. Dawn sings and plays acoustic guitars and Nils also plays guitar while the remaining violin, percussion, clarinet, flute and harmonica are covered by line-up musicians.

The album is very dark and melodic. The songs for the most part are extremely well written and catchy but have unexpected twists and turns that always sound well integrated into the sound. Lyrics are quite disparate ranging from tracks like 'Housekeeper,' honoring domestic servants to Christmas inspired themes as in 'O Mary.' I find this very addictive. Some tracks stand out more than others but after repeated listens many more start to sink in. Although this album is a little uneven with my favorite tracks being towards the beginning, there are enough strong tracks to recommend this as a unique dark folk experience.

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