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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Faun

By Matt Cibula
Published January 5, 2007

Renaissance
Noir

In this cynical world, it might be easy to dismiss Faun. After all, the band is made up of five youngish Germans trying to dress up ancient folksongs in modern clothes—it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. So easy to sneer at the name and/or nose-ring of Oliver Sa Tyr, to shake one’s head and chuckle at songs about kings in cold halls. But Faun means everything it does, and does it with skill. When they tackle medieval Portuguese or Sephardic texts, they commit to them all the way as songs, songs that might end up as Celtic drones or pounding new wave folk-pop. Sa Tyr’s original tunes are unexpectedly understated and sweet. Faun’s not afraid of technology, so their synths occasionally bubble in very modern ways. Lisa Pawelke and Fiona Rüggeberg sing like ABBA covering Enya, and Rüdiger Maul’s drum attack can be as fierce as Grendel’s mom. All in all, the effect is like noticing that the weird goth girl in your freshman seminar is actually kind of pretty and soulful, and is giving you the eye.