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Favni (Fauns) - Windswept CD (album) cover

WINDSWEPT

Favni (Fauns)

 

Prog Folk

4.04 | 5 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars In the 5 year "break" between "Awaiting the Sun" and "Windswept", FAUNS changed their name to FAVNI, which is German for Fauns, mostly to distinguish themselves from the more traditionally oriented and commercially successful FAUN, also from Germany. Otherwise, the blend of pastoral acoustic folk with occasionally acidic electric guitars and keyboards remains intact. Long gone are the carefree romps in the woods, wholly usurped by a host of more morose moods taking their cue from the likes of PINK FLOYD, MOSTLY AUTUMN, CAROL OF HARVEST, NEKTAR and even the long defunct German neo prog/folk band FAUN from the 1990s.

In spite of their homage to many who have gone before, they manage to navigate an alternative path thanks to their ability to deftly integrate the electric and acoustic. The inclusion of flutes and strings alongside the almost omnipresent acoustic guitar and occasional frenetic amplified bursts is effective, if at times they loiter a little, leading to somewhat inflated running times on a few tracks. The yin-yang of alternating lead vocals offered by Jan-Peer Hartmann and Kirsten Middeke offers additional distinction, even if neither are A-list in that department.

The album's consistency is also its flaw because, while it's all good, and frequently excellent, I can't really point to a standout track, just passages throughout that are brilliant in that ghostly familiar way. And again, as in the last album, with most tracks lying in a certain tempo range, it can take many listens to uncover the gems, the impact somewhat muted by their similarities. Still, the opener "Yearning for You" kick starts the work admirably, particularly in the vocal sections that arrive late and, well, sound like they are aware of their tardiness. The eerie Eastern Euro theme of "Leaf in the Wind" plays like the gripping soundtrack to an adult Grimm's Fairy Tale. "The Visionary" begins as a gentle mystical narrative before dialing up the intensity to a ferocious finish. "Leaving" closes the studio portion of the release in a more uniformly dreamy fashion, with a sweet melody only accentuated by the lush flutes and acoustic guitars. Three live tracks follow, all of which confirm the band's ability to perform their intricate work outside of the studio.

If you enjoy acoustic based prog folk with an edge, don't sweep this one aside. It was worth the wait.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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