The Fauns – Lights
Alison Garner’s mannered, half-whispered vocals are the first clue that The Fauns are very much in thrall to the apparently immortal influence of the early 90s shoegaze scene. Throbbing bass, jackhammer snare, layers of distorted guitar – Lights demonstrates a sound enough working knowledge of the sub-genre it clearly holds dear without ever really carving out enough identity to engage in depth.
In recent years, the likes of 2:54, Chelsea Wolfe and Howling Bells have grasped the dark heart of gothic pop in a fuller sense, building character atop their methodology, and displaying songwriting smarts. The Fauns settle for atmospheric effect too easily here on this, their second album. A shame, because when they get it right, as on the creeping If Ever, whose skyscraper riff tips a nod to Spacemen 3’s epoch-defining Revolution, they’re a genuine proposition. It’s the more by-numbers moments (see the drifting lullaby Give Me Your Love) that weaken the whole.