added: 15 May 2012
// release date: 15 May 2012 // label: City Slang
reviewer: Dan MacIntosh
Apparently when they built Florence + The Machine, they didn’t exactly break the mode. Listening to Portland, Oregon’s Tu Fawning is sometimes a whole lot like digging on Miss Florence.
One track in particular shows off this act’s flair for the dramatic. “Build a Great Cliff” piles on the orchestration and layered vocals thick. It comes off a little like a French foreign film soundtrack, meets the Underdog cartoon theme song.
You might say Corrina Repp is the Florence inside Tu Fawning’s machine. Started by Repp and Joe Haege, before later adding Liza Rietz and Toussaint Perrault, this four-piece band tends to build its songs around exotic drumming and primal rhythm patterns. It’s certainly not what you would term 'pop' music. One cannot imagine, say, guest rappers helping out or David Guetta remixing these recordings.
In other words, this music is quite arty. For instance, the echoing keyboard groove that supports “In the Center of Powder White” vacillates between subdued verses and operatic choruses. The effect is kind of spooky.
All the artifice makes it difficult to figure what, if any message, this band is making. It’s a lot of kooky sound and fury, signifying, well, we don’t really know. It’s creative and unpredictable. Yet sometimes, don’t we want something at least a little predictable? We love to sing along with songs we know and like. However, it’d be a little difficult to sing along with this music. That is, of course, unless you’re Betty Davis playing a crazy woman in an old Hollywood film. This might be the music of your life, if that were you. For the rest of us, though, this is just a little too much aural strangeness for our own good. If they ever make One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Sequel, about crazy people, Tu Fawning ought to be on the shortlist for that soundtrack.
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