TU FAWNING return this May with their sophomore release, titled 'A Monument'. A mere nine songs short, but enough time to confirm the suspicion raised by the band's debut album: can it be that this band sets itself apart from everything else out there right now? Yes, this is proof.
While the band keep their trademark sound in Corrina Repp's formidable voice, most gone are the swampy blues-guitar howls now replaced by a newfound love for vibrant percussive mania. A more excessive use of keyboards has stepped in the way of the morbidly dark vaudevillian vibes of the last record and one will find these songs much more focused and pointed than ever before. 'A Monument' is in fact a very different record, all the more reason for us to appreciate this band and their artistic merits. Live, Tu Fawning deliver a dense, romantic, highly energetic live show, much more powerful than their debut album would have led you to imagine. And on 'A Monument' this sparkles through on every track.
Band member Joe Haege confesses "With as much as the last record relied on samples and teasing out a song from very repetitive ideas, A Monument focuses on collaboration of the four of us (Corrina Repp, Liza Rietz, Toussaint Perrault, Joe Haege). When Toussaint played us some loose ideas he had recorded we all fell in love with them and they ended up kind of defining the record: using synths more heavily yet with no intent of making "synth" or "electro" music. The goal was still one of timelessness, meaning we wanted to capture a feeling that someone listening to it couldn't easily pin down the era it's from. I think we really wanted that for ourselves, For this album we were no longer starting with a vague identity.“
Perfectly designed to fill up one side of a C90 cassette, 'A Monument' offers exactly nine very different pieces to that beautiful and unusual Tu Fawning style. There is no genre to point to, no drawer to throw this band into. These songs are refreshingly all over the place, yet are very much cohesive on a whole. 'A Monument' exemplifies the growth of the band; personally, collectively, and musically. This record is a testimony to the band Tu Fawning have become. It’s a way of sharing a new level of musical communication at which the four members have arrived. This connection comes through a breadth of shared experiences: writing together in Portland, Leipzig, San Francisco, touring for months at a time and performing night after night.
Tracks like "Blood Stains" have moved Tu Fawning south, more the Down Under type of south, with the warped R’n’B styles of a Birthday Party or early Bad Seeds. Less the atonality and surely sans the testosterone. And likewise "Wager" lifts some moment of orchestral nausea out of a Crime And The City Solution track, converting it into a real song. Not all gothic, but certainly all dark. Weird, eccentric, timeless are user-friendly adjectives for the simple minded when trying to describe a band such as this. And lets not forget dramatic! Does it get anymore dramatic than "Build A Great Cliff" ? Take a rollercoaster ride with the epic seven and a half minute album closer that is "Bones" ? The latter showing that there is indeed also a sense of playfulness here.
'A Monument' was recorded at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco and at Type Foundry in Portland. Some additional recording took place at Menomena’s Justin Harris’s house. The album was mixed by Jeff Saltzmann and eventually finished off by Mastering Pope Howie Weinberg at his Los Angeles studios. Above and beyond the usual guitar, bass, keys, drums, the record feautures instrumentation such as a ragini, a tuned down marching band drum, old 80’s synths, actually lots of synths, those samples of South American chants turned into chords. Not to mention the degenerated four-track recorders, dying guitar pedals, but most importantly: "turning your back to the microphone and yelling…"
Tu Fawning are:
'The birth of something truly interesting musically that creates a dark, lamenting and enchanting world.' - Loud and Quiet
“Like an absinthe-drenched dance band in a decaying ballroom… It’s all a brave and evocative mess. Tu Fawning are capable of something extraordinary.” - Uncut
“Right up there with hearing Kate Bush’s ‘A Kick Inside’ for the first time; a wonderful headscratcher. A curious, compelling whole.” - MOJO
“Hearts on Hold has been honed to take the listener to places they never dreamed of” - Music Week