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Faunts: Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.

 

C
Album: Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.
Label: Friendly Fire

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From its opening moments, Feel.Love.Thinking.Of. presents a band reborn. Faunts’ last album (2005’s High Expectations/Low Results) found the Edmonton quartet churning out pastoral post-rock at a glacial pace. By contrast, this record’s titular opener re-imagines Jimmy Eat World as fey electro-pop, and ends with the beat from Gloria Estefan’s “Conga.” In case there’s any ambiguity, those aren’t favorable comparisons. Still, not everything about Faunts 2.0 is a bizarro backpedal. The second song, “Input,” offers expertly conceived folk draped over slow-building downtempo, and track four, “Out On A Limb,” combines grinding guitars, layered percussion, and moody vocals to create a writhing groove worthy of reprise. The only thing repeated, however, is an unfortunate pattern: For Feel’s every plus, there’s a significant minus, such that listeners could actually buy the album’s even-numbered tracks, and skip all the odds. To wit, “It Hurts Me All The Time” (track three) is flat, warmed-over shoegaze, and “Lights Are Always On” (five) sounds too indistinct to deliver any real emotional payoff. Track seven, “I Think I’ll Start A Fire,” is Feel’s worst—an absolute bomb made of weird synth harp and soft-rock riffage—but unsurprisingly, it’s followed by the album’s best. Equal parts electronic and analog, “Alarmed/Lights” is a textural masterpiece that demonstrates just how good Faunts can be on a song. Maybe next time they’ll get the consistency right.