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Tu Fawning - A Monument (Review)

Tu Fawning, A Monument

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

TU Fawning continue to rate among the leading lights of the Portland music scene and sophomore album A Monument should only heighten the interest surrounding them.

A bigger, darker collection of songs than its predecessor Hearts on Hold, this incorporates the band’s love of music from around the world while also making continued striking use of the vocal prowess of lead singer Corrina Repp.

Hence, the comparisons will probably sound out about Repp being the new Kate Bush, while there are elements of Portishead and PJ Harvey present too as well as rock, folk, the ethereal and the R&B/soul.

Former single Anchor sets things in motion in suitably sit up and take notice fashion, opening amid a kind of American Indian drumming before easing in a haunted guitar riff and those choral vocals that really do recall the likes of Bush or, more recently, Bat For Lashes. It makes for a heady, intoxicating brew.

Blood Stains follows with its edgy mix of R&B and soul, tinged with haunted harmonies, while Wager carves a supremely moody path through more chanted backing vocals and haunted lyrics about desperate longing.

There’s a good mix of subtle drums and finger plucked banjo on A Pose For No One, which slow-builds into another intriguing epic, and a grand sense of the spookily theatrical on Build A Great Cliff, which recalls foggy land and sea scapes early on and a mounting sense of danger, while drawing on brass and outsized guitar riffs instrumentally.

The album then veers into even more experimental territory as it hits its second half with Skin And Bone opening with a flurry of instruments before settling into a brooding piano-backed ballad of sorts with choral loops swirling in and out, and In The Centre of Powder White hitting you with an early kind of buzzing that disorientates the listener slightly, before eerily coming to life.

Admittedly, that latter track and its follow up, To Break Into, are more of an acquired taste and less immediately affecting but fear not, the album doesn’t peter out.

Final track Bones is a barnstormer, opening with a genuinely exhilarating percussion section that recalls the music of African continents (as well as an emphatic guitar loop) before layering in some fine piano and more of those striking vocals and almost transforming into a dark pop song.

It’s a grand finale in every sense that guarantees you leave the album on a high – and deservedly so, for much of what’s gone before is equally as memorable.

Watch the video for Anchor:

Download picks: Anchor, Bones, Wager, A Pose For No One

Track listing:

  1. Anchor
  2. Blood Stains
  3. Wagner
  4. A Pose For No One
  5. Build a Great Cliff
  6. Skin and Bone
  7. In the Centre of Powder White
  8. To Break Into
  9. Bones