Profile: The Fauns

Formed in the summer of 2007, The Fauns are a six-piece outfit fronted by vocalist Alison Garner. The band reference MBV-era shoegaze with a modern slant, their sound characterized by use of distortion and feedback mixed with delicate vocal harmonies delivered with a pop edge.

Bristol-based band The Fauns take on a brave mission. Judging by the enormous number of 'new-shoegaze' (dream pop, chillwave, nu-gaze) groups out there on the internet today, it seems that the second decade of the new century is awash with a revival of a style of music that was not all that popular even back in the nineties. It's hard to get it right. It's easy enough now with modern technology to create a sound that harks back to the enveloping sounds of MBV, Slowdive, J&MC or Ride, the difficult part is branding your own stamp on it and producing something that stands up on its own merits.

The Fauns succeed. Take Cool Stuff for example (originally from the bands' 2009 eponymous debut), instantly embracing the listener into a world of its own, ethereal vocals blended perfectly into the backdrop of beautifully wrapping soundscapes.

Production is spot on, the levels tweaked to perfection as Garner's smoothly velvet tones enthral throughout without either overbearing the atmospherics or fading too far into the overall 'feel' of the harmonies. Fantastic stuff to chill out to and get completely lost in sound.

Since the release of the debut album The Fauns have been out on the road (alongside the likes of The Durutti Column and more recently across Germany, Denmark and Norway with The Telescopes), plus honing their studio-sound further, dropping a few select remixes and videos along the way. The first one featured here, Road Meets The Sky, set to footage from the classic original Tron. Perhaps somewhat bizarrely, it fits!

The Sun Is Cruising also gets a viewing, against a photo-montage backdrop showing exactly what the band have been up to - including numerous shots of studio work which can only bode well for fans who grow impatient for a follow-up release to the 2009 LP. The band themselves luckily seem aware that there's a growing number of followers eagerly awaiting new material and have promised that a sophomore full-length offering should be out early this year, and verify the good news with a short taster of the new material on Bandcamp.

One of the great things about clued-up, savvy bands nowadays is what must be the equivalent of hunting through the stock of dingy record stores looking for hidden gems: scouring the deepest reaches of the 'internetosphere' for obscurities, one-offs and little-known recordings. The Fauns once more do not disappoint on this front, with a host of associated sites and tools (see below) to rummage through and turn up the unexpected. The band's SoundCloud page, by way of example, has four acoustic versions from a BBC Bristol 'Introducing' session from a couple of years ago which are well worth checking out.

The debut LP itself can be previewed in full over at Bandcamp, and downloaded for a only £5 which seems admirably reasonable (Big Cartel also offer both CD and vinyl versions for a little more). It's a more than accomplished release from a band that appears to be doing everything right - and have the consummate sounds to carry that through. 2012 looks to be a good year for The Fauns - and also for Fauns fans (like myself) ardently anticipating the upcoming album and hopefully the opportunity to check some live dates too.

the fauns links
Bandcamp | Big Cartel | Facebook | Twitter | MySpace | YouTube | Soundcloud | Last.fm