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Faun - Wondrous End CD (album) cover





3.78 | 10 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars How strange, an obscure German band released only one CD finally, that being double, and almost all live. I would not be surprised if this were a unique phenomenon. I believe Faun may have already disbanded by the time these disks were put together. Such a pity, for we all lost out on something really worthwhile, at a time when German prog was barely an echo of its former self. The title "Wondrous End" is so very apt.

How to describe the music of Faun - soft, heavy, tranquil, wild, pastoral, jarring, flutes, lead guitars, powerful English vocals, great instrumentals, you get the idea. It is not nearly as oriented to mysterious rituals and dancing around a bonfire as the band name suggests, yet a woodsy feel is present in some of the material. We hear hints of much earlier bands such as Saga, a Canadian group with superstar status in Germany before they were known elsewhere, or Germans Eloy. Neither of those groups utilized the flute, and Faun avoided the somewhat schmaltzy tendencies of both (whom I enjoy both, I hasten to say) while still producing touching songs. Their melodies were more angular and somehow driven by guitar licks and powerful bass as much as by keys and flutes. The maturity level of this group was remarkable, and, as hinted above, they were exemplary in their ability to juxtapose contrasts that would seem absurd in lesser hands.

The highlights are many, but it's hard not to be entranced by the title cut with its gentle beginnings, building vocals and catchy riffs; the suspenseful "Flute in the Fog" ; "Thousand Days Before" ; the olde Englishe sounding "In Vain"; the brilliant "Micemakers" (walking on our street...following our feet) which sounds like it has mellotron choir; and "Warm September Rain", which is as pretty a ballad as you will hear, and this is just CD1. The second CD features several duplicates but in a studio setting or with added parts, but the piano dominated instrumental "On A Magician's Flight", the surreal "Lady Banshee", and the final cut, the paganish "Shrovetide" are all major achievements. Loss of focus does occur in a few of the weaker cuts like the two "Born Bad" pieces and "The Stone", but these also have good moments and can be forgiven their trespasses.

This wondrous work is recommended to anyone looking for something a bit different than the standard "neo prog" fare, and who enjoys an adventurous spirit applied to accessible song structures. Perhaps we can spark a bit of a Faun revival.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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