Tu Fawning - Hearts on Hold - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Tu Fawning - Hearts on Hold

by Andy Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2011-01-10

With Hearts on Hold, Tu Fawning have created an album of eerie delights, a record steeped in atmosphere. Based in Portland, Oregon, Tu Fawning are comprised of founding members Joe Haege and Corrina Repp as well as Liza Rietz and Toussaint Perrault and they're a talented bunch. The album is layered with disjointed rhythms, seasick trumpets and creepy percussion as well as violins, pianos, guitars and supremely spooky vocals. Take opening track 'Multiply a House'; it's like a funeral procession through the woods, at night, on Halloween, on your own. As they sing: "The rivers too shallow, your body won't sink…"

Tribal rhythms start off second track 'The Felt Sense' before Corrina's pining vocals come in; it's a disorientating and unexpectedly emotional listen. It's an album that takes unexpected twists and turns with an admirable frequency. 'Mouths of Young' is a hypnotic dance through the dark while 'Sad Story' has an almost Dresden Dolls cabaret vibe as they sing, "Don't let a man be your sad story…". 'Apples and Oranges' is a piano duet, which only partly works, while the ritualistic drums and nimble fret work present on 'Just Too Much' help make it an album highlight.

'Diamond in the Forest' has a kind of Tom Waits-esque feel to it, Tu Fawning very much in touch with his sense of the theatrical. 'Hand Grenade' is a funeral-dirge via the circus as they chant, "give us a name, give us a name". By this point, Tu Fawning will either have you under their spell or have you completely baffled. 'I Know You Now' is made up of disjointed samples, echoed vocals and impressive guitar work; it's possibly the strongest tune here. It's on this track in particular that I'm reminded of Portishead or more specifically the album Beth Gibbons did with Rustin' Man. Superb stuff. 'Lonely Nights' is the ideal curtain closer to Tu Fawning's dark theatrics, a creeping, ancient sounding thing of beauty.

There's a sense of exuberant experimentalism on Hearts on Hold, being comprised of seasoned musicians more than capable of recreating the sounds they hear in their, presumably, dark psyches. Not everything Tu Fawning try works completely but you find yourself forgiving any imperfections for them simply having the talent and inclination to try something different. At it's best, Hearts on Hold has an almost ritualistic quality, something strange, naturalistic and enchanting being channelled with utter conviction.

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