Album Reviews

Album Review: fanshaw – Dark Eyes (Mint Records)

By | Published on Thursday 11 February 2010


The awkwardly-cased (curse you, artists with no respect for capitalisation!) fanshaw has some pedigree to live up to. Her Vancouver home has given us rapturous Canadian pop like New Pornographers and such revelatory prog as Black Mountain, and her own musical adventures have seen her spend time as part of The Choir Practice – a ramshackle collective of uplifting spirits whose member list reads like a slightly less successful Broken Social Scene.

Nevertheless, the first solo album from Olivia Fetherstonhaugh (as her birth certificate would say) arrives free from fanfare or fireworks, offering something of simple melancholy, but sadly not much else. Whereas The xx managed to bring genuine fear and beauty into echoing riffs and processed, low-key rhythms, in ‘Dark Eyes’ fanshaw follows similar patterns but never breaks from an insulating monotony.

There’s solitude and confinement in each distant, underplayed note, as these nine tracks prove to be as sparse and abstract as their typically one word titles. ‘O Sailor’ is more interesting than the rest, but over all this is a record lacking the bombast or joy of other modern Canadian efforts like Neko Case or Feist; teasing but rarely tempting. TM

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