Sunday, 15 November 2015

Album: The River Fane - Takes Forever

The River Fane Takes Forever


The River Fane - Project La Bamba


Info: Alternative folk rock band The River Fane recently released their first full length recording, Takes Forever, on the back of three E.P. releases over the past five to six years. The Dublin based four-piece recorded the LP over the last two years in The Meadow studio with Ivan Jackman which was documented by film-maker Scan (afghaniscan.com) and put finishing touches to it at home in both Wexford and Dublin.

It's a bit of a bittersweet review that follows, the first time I've reviewed an album by a band who have decided to call it a day as The River Fane have brought down the curtain on their 6 year journey, but sweet that I got to hear such a wonderful compilation of original tracks, my only regret is that I didn't come across them sooner and see them live. 

Opening with 'NOW! That's What I Call Untitled 3' I was immediately sucked in, atmospherically the music reminds me of something from Jeff Buckley's Sketches or The Walkmen's You & Me, initially gentle the song builds up to a very satisfying and purposeful heavy crescendo. 'Hollow Ground' has a sun-kissed Californian vibe to it, like the sound you'll recall from Pavement and in some ways Eels back in the late 90's, there's nice thick bass-lines and harmonies, again like the album's opener the band have worked on the build up well, but at a slower trajectory.

The River Fane - Way Home

On 'Take Home' (above) you can clearly hear the American alternative folk influences but The River Fane add in a nice twist with their keys and effects, at this point in the album you feel like you're listening to an act who are on their third record after two successful previous releases, everything thus far coming across very accomplished and self-assured. 'Loose Movements' was such a nice surprise as well, licks of psychedelia on a beautifully lazy, hazy nonchalant track that veers into acute distortion and hysteria, providing us with more variety and maintaining our interest with ease. Similarly 'What's Pesto' drifts over us warmly, with the exclusion of Takes Forever's final track the albums other 7 songs average roughly five and a half minutes, which is necessary to my mind in terms of composition and song-writing in order for them to unfold adequately for the listener.

The River Fane

A favourite of mine on the album has to be 'Project La Bamba' (top video), although not the penultimate track on the recording, it feels like it's the bands farewell tune, a happy wave goodbye even though the overall experience could be tinged with a bit of sadness. It's an overtly positive and sunny number, the message seems to be, 'goodbye, and thanks, it's been fun!', no regrets here, the keyboard sequence holding this feeling steady from start to finish. 

There's still a twist in the tail, a mini showcase of another string to The River Fane's bow, 'Where The Heart Connects' is like some weird mash-up of Spinal Tap and The Moody Blues, theatrical and sinister, it leads way to a hidden track, a beautiful instrumental, almost Celtic in it's sound, the wood-wind instrument and dark chanting bringing you to a misty woods for an ancient pagan ritual that somebody's not coming home from! All I can think by the end of the album is, yes, it's a pity The River Fane's time has come to an end, but sometimes these things have to happen for the music within each of it's members to develop in another direction or to other heights, maybe partially together or a completely fresh start, once they continue in some vein it ain't all bad.

You can purchase Takes Forever for a 'name your price' amount (be kind) here https://theriverfane.bandcamp.com/album/takes-forever






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