Thursday, October 16, 2014

REVIEW: Fair Maiden - Fair Maiden

The name Fair Maiden may not spark recognition in the portion of your brain that stores facts about music, but I suggest that listening to opening track "India", with Ellen Carey's ghostly vocals over a ominous tom beat will be enough to get you interested in the self-titled debut from this Australian band.  And the delights offered by the following seven tracks are varied indeed.  "Lord" is a dark, bluegrassy sing-a-long ("Lord, Lord summon me/bring charges to me now") in which Carey creates a narrator so certain of her hopeless state that it brings a smile; "Wait for You" is a sweet country love song, perfect for the hayride.  "Poison" is an atmospheric, slow-tempo cautionary tale.  The folk lament "Sad Song" features sparse instrumentation and otherworldly female vocals. "Blue Moon" and "Darlin" are re-imagined '60s pop, and if you are like me, "Darlin" will draw a few hits on the replay button.  The closer, "Lady of Fortune" is a chugging folk rock song that showcases the powerful harmonies of Carey and female collaborators.

The project started way back in 2008, with Ellen Carey, a veteran of several other bands, working on some songs.  They've incubated over time, and attracted other musicians -- Ellen's brother Joel Carey and Liam Kenny in the past, Steph Crase, Hamish Baird and Noah Renolds in the present.  The album's influences can be found in the folk and pop of the '60s, but Carey's eclectic songwriting, thematic choices and dark sense of humor result in a timeless and thoroughly enjoyable album.  Buy it, play it, it will make you happy.

Fair Maiden is out now via Bedroom Suck Records, and via Fire Records by arrangement with BSR in the Northern Hemisphere.  You can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link below.

Bedroom Suck Records page for the album
Fire Records

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