Review Summary: Pretty and atmospheric, Left Here Alone is a window into Faunts's growing period
It’s surprising Faunts have remained so unrecognised, especially considering their stunning contributions to a certain sci-fi RPG game series, but armed with their dreamy brand of shoegazey post rock they seem to enjoy lying low. 2009’s Feel.Love.Thinking.Of
was the last we’d heard from the Canadians, and even that remains their only full length since their debut in 2005. Their newly released EP, Left Here Alone
, contains some unreleased tracks incepted during the time between 2005’s High Expectations/Low Results
and 2007’s M4
, after which the band moved their focus away from floating atmosphere towards soft hooks. Subsequently, fans who prefer the more direct and poppy approach of Feel.Love.Thinking.Of
may be disappointed by Left Here Alone
, with its soft vocals and airy reverb seeing most of the songs drawn out to just shy of ten minutes, and the entire four song EP to twenty-nine.
It’s certainly very pretty, but you can’t help feel that the music lacks substance. Without hooks it’s down to the instruments to do the work but with the dainty, high pitched textures of “Alarmed” and “What I’d Love To Hear You Say”, Faunts don’t pull it off like they did with their later EP, M4
, and it all ends up sounding a little boring. The occasional guitar lines don’t really do much to liven up the music either- nowhere near the way they did on M4
’s incredible twin title tracks. “Stay A While” starts turning things a little more interesting, taking an uncharacteristically more vocal-led approach and nicely harmonised multi-instrumental textures, but it isn’t until the album’s closer that Faunts realise the vision hinted at on the previous tracks. Opening with creeping samples and a slow, pulsing percussion, the song finally hits home when the synthesisers open in the distance and evoke a cold, melancholic atmosphere. Softly sung vocals fit nicely in the textures and the lyrical images conveyed mirror the music’s lonely vibe- both retaining the delicate tinges of hope and longing which underpin Faunts’s best music. The elegantly fuzzy chorus sees the vocals almost breaking apart as they deliver Left Here Alone
’s most gorgeous melody. Although at 9m56s this is the longest song of the EP and one of the longest songs in Faunts’s discography, its graceful nature and interesting textures almost suspend time, achieving what, unfortunately, the other songs could not.
Left Here Alone
is certainly more for fans of High Expectations/Low Results
. Dainty and refined to the last detail, there may be much to find in its winter soundscapes, but it’s the moment of brilliance on the title track that shows Faunts are able to completely fulfil their own potential- hinting at the developments and improvements they’d make on M4
. For almost that alone, Left Here Alone
deserves a chance.