EP: Cole Fanning – Second Face

Second Face, the new e.p from 23 year old Bostonite Cole Fanning, is a lovely little anti-folk gem. Released on 5th May, its five insouciant tracks weave along beautifully with Fanning’s youthful yet weary delivery providing strange observations and sinuous melodies.

Each song has an immediacy to it, the recording approach direct, rough even, but full of lo-fi charm, that voice a yearning hangdog, slacker croak of a thing. There are surprising piano lines that dance above the choppy acoustic guitar, sometimes straying but never outstaying their welcome. Neither do any of the songs, each one barely hanging around for more than a few minutes with an occasional crunchy, electric fuzz of guitar shifting the sonic direction.

There’s a minimalist folk-blues element to Do What/Uppercut, the lyrics oddly specific and unsettling. As the song develops, things dive into an emotive realm, sounding almost folk-punk in the clatter and yelp of the song’s more larynx-strained conclusion. There’s an early freak-folk feel at times during the e.p but this is music that feels earthier, more ochre-stained – no hint of the tweeness that sometimes underlined that scene. Wooden Wand comes to mind perhaps more – particularly in the haze-filled, smoky atmospherics.

Concluding track, By Starlight is maybe the most complete idea of a song -possessed of an angry dirge-like quality with the electric guitar almost straying into enjoyably atonal territory at times like some early Palace Brothers’ track. The strangely familiar melody and that spontaneous approach make for an arresting combination.

Cole Fanning is apparently working towards a full album release; with Second Face he has shown that any future music will be well worth listening to. Until then, let these simple, stirring, sensitive songs sink in and smile.

Written by M. A. Welsh (Misophone)