Faith and the MuseThe Burning Season
Oh my dear God. They're still going at it, aren't they? Still stuck on Boroque soundscapes and Ethereal wisps, yes? Not that I'm complaining. Faith and the Muse
rank up as one of the most brilliant bands that goth offered us in the 90s. One of the only ones really worth owning everything by. How often do those bands come around? Not nearly often enough, I'll say. There's a certain charm with this pair, ands a certain enigmatic factor that's really not worth the hours of reflecting I've given it. William Faith - ex-Christian Death
, ex-Shadow Project
, ex-Mephisto Walz
, and so on down the line of other noteworthy and comapratively resectable bands (I hear these days he's working with Jarboe
- doesn't really surprize me. One genius/insanity tightrope walker deserves another, yes?). Monica Richards - ex-Strange Boutique
(brilliant, by all accounts. Mark Burgess was damned proud), ex-Madhouse (ooh... DC crust-punk, nothing compares). Okay, so post punk/deathrock
/general goth-related subset credibility is intact. These folks know what they're doing. They have no choice but to. It's a wonder this new Deathrock thing doesn't embrace them more than they do. Well, c'est la vie
, I suppose. Genius is still genius at the end of the day.
But Faith and the Muse aren't known for that. It may strike one as surprizing, but frankly, it's more amusing than anything, and inspiring comes to mind when two with such agressive backgrounds combine into what can only be described as beautiful. Study Elyria
</i>, and you might get an idea of what I'm talking about.
But back to the topic at hand, The Burning Season
strikes as something of an anamoly, and signifies a one-album experimental stage much like what Siouxsie and the Banshees
did with Kaliedascope
, but much more tame. An album like this deserves a song-by-song analysis, though I usually loathe that approach. Baith and Switch
, and Sredni Vashtar
open up the album as a sort of pairing. Two seperate songs, but one real cohesive "piece". Almost reminds me of heavy metal for a minute there, with Monica vocalizing wildly in the background. The lyrics to the latter are menacing, primal, and seductive all at the same time. The message is clear, "This is the where we're going". Glorious. Boudiccea
shines beautifully with it's feminist undertones and real lush fills. It's beautiful, even if it'll never be a dancefloor hit. They continue with that trend in In The Amber Room
, which, while being pretty, bores quickly. Over 6 minutes seems too much. Not that it's not killer, in the right setting, mind you. I'd like to say the same thing about Gone To Ground
, but the fact is, I can't. So much more jazzy, Cabaret-like in it's subtle assault, and Monica does a stellar job of evoking that "smokey jazz bar" vibe that I love so much simply with her voice. I suppose the piano helps, too.
The real standout tracks consist of the primal, tribal, and intense title track, which is foreboding, but charmingly passionate, with an edge for the macabre. Relic Song
really shows the self-rightous side of the two, going on about punk rock and the old school and whatnot. But you look closer, and it really could've been a March Violets
song, and the lyrics are kind of cool in that wish you was there when it was good
sort of way. Condescending as it may seem, you can't help but respect them for it, as they seem intent on continuing it through a "new generation", as they put it. Visions
tops my list as the other standout track, with the charming keyboards and synthetic drums, complimented by the violin, which is an odd stature, but it works - don't ask me how. Most likely to get played in clubs? More like most likely not
to get played in clubs. Whispered In Your Ear
is the dancefloor hit that should have been but never was. Again, don't ask me how. Prodigal
sees Faith and the Muse taking a more art-rock
approach to the entire thing, scrapping the guidelines and starting at square one. Who can blame them, really? But the lyrics are positively clever, and not without the hints of sarcasm that we love.
So, in all fairness, it's an earnest release. Perhaps not the most solid, and perhaps not even the best that we're accustomed to from these two, but it does the job, and I enjoy it. Pick it up if you get the chance.