Faun Fables: Light Of A Vaster Dark

Faun Fables: Light Of A Vaster Dark

The deeper Faun Fables gets into a thicket of nymph-haunted vocal harmonies, rustic woodwinds, and chiming guitars on Light Of A Vaster Dark, the clearer it is that leader Dawn McCarthy isn’t about to feed her songwriting homework to a talking tree. Once again showing a sturdiness of vision that transcends the folk realm, McCarthy reconciles blustery framing gestures like “Intro: Darkness” with the great overlooked. “Parade” revels in the warms and colds of big-city humanity, as McCarthy sings of her astonishment that “a parade made the people in this big town look each other in the eye.” She also returns to the domestic themes of 2008’s A Table Forgotten EP in the ritualistic chants of “Sweeping Spell” and “Housekeeper.” The other constant on Light is McCarthy’s pliable chemistry with her collaborators. On “Violet,” they seem intent on gliding through dozens of harmonies and frictions among voices and instruments, and for all the switch-ups, the song keeps finding new momentum right up to its final, pristine vocal crescendo. Short instrumentals—three “Interlude” tracks and the blurry twinkle of “Bells For Ura” and “Outro: Light”—grease the wheels between mightily realized songs like “O Mary” and “Hibernation Tales.” It might’ve been enough for Faun Fables to bear up McCarthy’s commanding theatricality on this album. Instead, it has a surplus of ideas that only make Light feel more purposeful.

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