Piers Faccini

Between Dogs & Wolves

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If it weren't for the high fidelity, Between Dogs and Wolves, the fifth long-player from British-born singer/songwriter Piers Faccini, could easily be mistaken for a late-'60s/early-'70s Harvest Records release, appearing in a display case next to Shirley & Dolly Collins' Anthems in Eden or Roy Harper's Stormcock. Richly detailed yet tastefully delivered ballads like "Black Rose," "Like Water Like Stone," and "Broken Mirror" resonate in a similar way to classic folk offerings from Nick Drake, Martin Carthy, and John Renbourn. Like his closest contemporary, survival skills-instructor-turned modern British folk emancipator Sam Lee, Faccini uses the genre as a foundation to explore other styles, most notably on songs like the jazz-tinged "Pieces of Ourselves" and the breezy "Il Cammino," the latter of which pays homage to his Italian heritage. Elsewhere, he mines familiar themes like love and loss through an enigmatic musical prism that runs the gamut from deeply melancholic ("Feather Light" and "Girl in the Corner") to hesitantly hopeful ("Wide Shut Eyes" and "Missing Words"), all the while maintaining a stately singer/songwriter vibe that feels both authentic and refined. Between Dogs and Wolves is a quiet record filled with big emotions, but it requires the listener's complete attention, and even then it can be elusive. That said, it all goes down like the smoothest of drams, and between Faccini's smoky, Leonard Cohen-meets-Steve Kilbey (the Church) cadence, his finger-picking acumen, and deeply felt, yet measured and simplistic lyrics, it's hard to resist the urge to go back for seconds.

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