Let Your Fears Subside
The Fauns live at The Hope
The Fauns

The Hope, Brighton - 11th June 2014

It's such a worry, you know. When something as magical as The Fauns' second album, Lights, comes out of nowhere to knock you sideways, the first thought is to go and see this band play live. When you realise they have no dates planned for Sussex, the second thought is to get them to play live for you. And having achieved that, the third thought is to worry about how on earth they are going to capture such an entrancing sound in the live environment.

Let's face it, bands who make this type of music often fail to live up to expectations. Going to see the Cocteau Twins live was pretty much a lottery, while others who manage to capture perfectly the nuances of their records, such as Dead Can Dance, often trade in their humanity to achieve that perfection. Sod that, we like rough round the edges; a bit of frustration adds an edge to a performance and gives a song heart. The greatest records aren't those that have every note in place and are polished with a shiny production. If we wanted those we would move to California and wear embarrassing sunglasses. The greatest records have a spirit that can cut through any technical shortfalls; they grab you by the insides and turn you inside out and when you bleed, they bleed with you. There has to be pain, there has to be shadow, there has to be soul.

Lights is an album that has plenty of that. There's light and dark, bitterness and joy, and an underlying toughness beneath its seemingly fragile exterior. Perhaps we shouldn't worry about The Fauns sounding hard enough live, but wonder if they can capture the delicate sparkle that makes the album a thing of beauty and whether the subtleties will be lost in the dark recesses of a dim, humid hall.

Well, we shouldn't have worried. As the band open with the charging 'Ease Down' Lee Woods and Elliot Guise unleash waves of crashing and sparkling guitars which are soon embellished by Alison Garner's silky vocals once a slight problem with the levels has been corrected. Woods and Garner harmonise beautifully while bassist Michael Savage keeps a keen eye on proceedings, though we're not sure if he moves an inch the whole of the set, making Bill Wyman appear like Roadrunner.

Four songs are played off the band's debut album, 'Road Meets The Sky', 'Lovestruck', 'Fragile' and 'The Sun Is Cruising', with 'Nothing Ever' (shame) and 'Give Me Your Love' being the only two songs not played from Lights. 'In Flames' and '4am' sound gorgeous while the build up to the band's finale is breathtaking. The excellent 'With You' grows even bigger when played live and Guise begins to lay down swathes of noise as the band drive on inexorably and Garner adds a pleasing hint of desperation to her vocal. The storm continues with the closer 'Seven Hours', pulsing on record, but throbbing on stage, and the band depart to leave Woods sending controlled feedback into the emptiness.

"Once more I felt alive, I let my fears subside", sings Garner on 'Seven Hours' before she leaves the stage and it feels prophetic. That we were more fearful the band would sound right rather than if anybody turned up to see them is probably why we do this in the first place. In the end it was good on all counts and we can't wait to see what treasures The Fauns can produce in the future.


Words Adam, Pics Gary

Lee woods and Michael Savage
Alison garner and Elliot Guise
The Great Escape
Reviews Jan-Mar 2014
Reviews April-June 2014
An Interview with The Fauns
Girl Band live at The Albert
Facebook Link
Isolation Home