From a tentative, early, but not entirely confident, first dip of a toe into the water with an EP in 2008 through to the more meaningful collaborative 'side project' that resulted in a startling surprise gem of an album in 'Hearts On Hold' in 2010, Tu Fawning have now become a fully functioning, bone-fide, all singing, all dancing, actual, proper band. Woo Hoo! They, but especially us, should be very happy about that. Tu Fawning just keep getting better and better. 'Hearts On Hold' was very good and pitched in as a late consideration for one of the best debut album releases of 2010. In 'Apples And Oranges' alone it contained a song of rare, delicate and highly original beauty. With their latest release, 'A Monument', Tu Fawning have a more confident swagger, a deeper, heavier and tighter sound and a combined creativity that delivers up some of the most intriguing and alluring songs you're likely to hear this year.
The high harmonies, tambourines and bass drums of 'Anchor' introduce Tu Fwaning's sophomore album with a flavour of 'Fur And Gold' era Bat For Lashes. However, it is from 'Blood Stains', the track from which this album's title is taken, that we begin to hear just how amazing Tu Fawning can be. The fuzzy keys, playful, cheeky beats, cracking whips, sharp horns and slightly manipulated vocal combine brilliantly on a thumping tour-de-force, not dissimilar in many ways to Siouxsie Sioux's super solo single 'Into A Swan'. 'Wager' follows on with near equal billing but comes from an entirely different perspective. The masterful percussion drives the increasingly vociferous cacophony of frenzied activity with razor sharp guitar riffs occasionally punching through the increasingly heady whirring of the intoxicating tribal tune.
'A Pose For No One' with its deep bass undercurrent, singularly plucked notes, menacing strings and vocal clarity helps maintain the momentum before another of 'A Monument''s wonderful highlights. A relatively slow build, distorted brass and icy cold delivery start, 'Build A Great Cliff', in such a glorious and gripping manner that you can't wait for the next note. If it wasn't quite brilliant enough, you even get a song within a song half way through. The sheer scale and complexity of this song is mesmerising. It's almost volcanic in nature; unstable, in a constant state of flux and dangerously exciting.
'Skin And Bone' plays around on a more harmony-heavy thread and then, 'In The Centre Of White Powder' loops a doom laden dark synth to score the moody melodies. Penultimately, 'To Break Into' gives us both some semi-Gothic glory, by way of the music, but also some very clever lyrics. Finally, 'Bones' seals the set with a more upbeat rhythm framed around a jazzier tempo but still with a sense of foreboding not far away.
Tu Fawning's second album, 'A Monument', is a stunning follow up to 'Hearts On Hold'. It has structure, real craftsmanship, multi-faceted creativity, complexity and cohesion. The four musicians, Joe Haege, Corrina Repp, Tousaint Perrault and Liza Rietz, combine so well to produce a resultant sound that is both beguiling and, at times, astonishingly effective. Once again, as per their original remit, they are 'Creating the sound of a rock band from an entirely fresh angle' and as such they should be applauded for that... simply because this is a great album.
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