Fawning
Illusions of Control


4.0
excellent

Review

by SusanBoyle USER (55 Reviews)
February 23rd, 2021 | 50 replies


Release Date: 02/12/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dreamland awaits.

Fawning (Cheyenne Avant and Devin Nunes) is a dream pop duo from California I recently discovered sifting through Bandcamp in the dead of night (as one does). I say “discovered,” but I’ve actually heard both artists' catalog before. Their previous work in the bands Night School and Whirr (respectively) were decent enough, but nothing I would’ve given a standing ovation for. Hell, as of this writing, I still haven’t given Cheyenne Avant’s band Night School a fair chance. But from what I’ve heard, it’s decent. Nunes only play drums for Whirr as far as I know, so I haven’t had a good gauge of his talents yet, but I guess he’s alright too.

So here we have two artists from bands that I have only middling feelings towards. Not exactly star-studded or anything. I’m not sure what mysterious force pushed me to check this group out. Seeing it pop up on Graveface Records’ Bandcamp in the middle of one of my nightly “crate-digging” romps across the internet, I didn’t see very much that would draw me in. But Illusions of Control, as far as I’m concerned, is the best thing either of these artists have done. Something truly wonderful. A tribute to the classic era of ethereal dream pop that manages to be on-par with, if not better than, those particular acts.

I sound like a hack critic saying that, but it’s true. The band has admitted as much. Atmospheric goth pop is something that I’ve only recently warmed up to, so perhaps I’m not the best person to make wild claims like the ones above. Though, I’d challenge anyone to listen to tracks like “Nothing Matters” and “You’re Not One to Cry” and try to argue with me. Both are near-perfect pop tracks, with Avant’s fragile, airy vocals meshing perfectly with the booming instrumentals and echoing drums (authentically provided by a drum machine, of course). Avant and Nunes have an impressive chemistry together here, well above that of groups that have been together for decades. The mixing is absolutely on-point as well. There’s a certain control that dream pop like this needs to have. It’s a balancing act. A touch too far in either direction and you risk making your album a squeaky-clean bore or unfocused noise. And for the most part, Fawning found the magic number here.

That isn’t to say there aren’t some rough edges. A few tracks bring in some ambient elements that, while not bad, seem to serve very little purpose. The 6-minute closing track “Linger” is especially culpable of this, which amounts to little more than a crescendo of synth chords and a few strums of the guitar. A disappointing end to an otherwise quality record.

But even with the lackluster closer, I found Illusions of Control to be an enchanting listen. I’m not exactly sure if it’s the late-night delirium talking, but it has a certain lush darkness that’s difficult to pull off. Like a dream that’s on the cusp of morphing into a nightmare. And yet, you awake wishing you were still there.



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user ratings (20)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SandwichBubble
February 23rd 2021


12521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream: https://graveface.bandcamp.com/album/illusions-of-control



T̶h̶e̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶r̶e̶v̶i̶e̶w̶ ̶I̶ ̶m̶a̶n̶a̶g̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶a̶ ̶d̶e̶c̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶i̶t̶'̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶w̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶I̶'̶m̶ ̶t̶a̶l̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶a̶l̶w̶a̶y̶s̶ ̶p̶o̶s̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶r̶e̶v̶i̶e̶w̶s̶ ̶l̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶.̶ ̶W̶h̶a̶t̶e̶v̶e̶r̶.̶

*Review edited, so the above statement doesn't make sense anymore*

Digging: Dirt - Never Mind Dirt - Here's the Bollocks

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2021


33525 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

Pos pos nice nice epic scenes but do I trust you on dream pop let's see

Digging: Lane Shi Otayonii - Ming Ming

SandwichBubble
February 23rd 2021


12521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Trusting underqualified people must be personal character flaw of yours.

But thank you.



Definitely give it a try. Dunno if your Beach House hating ways are gonna mesh well though.

parksungjoon
February 23rd 2021


28226 Comments


imagine being named avant

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2021


33525 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

Having the opposite issues to Beach House so far; the #dreamscapes are gorgeous, not particularly original but very well fleshed out, but the vocals are pretty much the direct opposite of whatever icing on the cake is be. meshing perfectly is a good way to put it, but this girl's melodies are mostly vapid for me and her performance makes every song feel seven times longer than it is ("You're Not One To Cry" is my easy fave so far for obvious reasons)



just started "All I Have", and liking where it's going so far, so we'll see

SandwichBubble
February 23rd 2021


12521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@parksungjoon

Labeled since birth, truly tragic.

Right there with Doug Pretentious and Otto Ostentatious.



@JohnnyoftheWell

You're Not One to Cry is my favorite too, at least we've got that going for us.

Mythodea
February 23rd 2021


5873 Comments


Cool album. The two songs you describe were my go-to's as well for this album.

I feel like the opening paragraph doesn;t add much to the review, though.

Hopelust
February 23rd 2021


3549 Comments


Great fucking find. This is exactly what I was needing and I didn't even know it.

Dedes
February 23rd 2021


7503 Comments


You had me skeptical until you said atmospheric goth pop, now I'm czechin
This better be worth ending my viking metal binge for

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
February 23rd 2021


2037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This looks interesting, definitely will check

SandwichBubble
February 23rd 2021


12521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Mythodea

you're right. I kind of forgot to tie it in. Whoops. I'll try and edit it down.



@all

hope you dig



Also, Sandwich "3.2 average" Bubble strikes again. I really should stop reviewing these new albums, I'm a menace.

teamster
February 23rd 2021


5463 Comments


"This better be worth ending my viking metal binge for"

Fucking awesome...

Digging: Jari Lindholm - Trajectories

SandwichBubble
February 23rd 2021


12521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This should provide a more pleasurable listening experience than viking metal, yesh.

loveisamixtape
February 23rd 2021


9830 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

ur avi is marching along in near perfect synchronization with track 2



this is pretty ok so far though it reminds me of the twin peaks band more than other bands that sound like the twin peaks band

SandwichBubble
February 23rd 2021


12521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Garf's got rhythm.

Uptight is definitely one of the more middling tracks, it gets better, promise.

Or maybe not, I've been wrong before.



Also, thanks for the feature. Kind of a late review though.

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
February 23rd 2021


1102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I’ll give this a listen, nice review sandy

Digging: Arab Strap - As Days Get Dark

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2021


2037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is good stuff, on my second listen now

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2021


23709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review Susan Waffle. The album is a warm blanket.

Digging: Lost Horizons - In Quiet Moments

SandwichBubble
February 24th 2021


12521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks all.

6 new ratings for this, I'd call that a job well done.

Mythodea
February 24th 2021


5873 Comments


make 'em 7! The album is a great find



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