Raising the Fawn

Sleight of Hand

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Raising the Fawn have a slightly roots-oriented foundation in much of their music, but what separates this album and this band from others is how singer and chief songwriter John Crossingham twists, kneads, and weaves layers of sounds and instruments into a cohesive whole. A perfect example of this is the opening "River of Gold," which never breaks out into a U2 or Coldplay epic but has that basic structure, making it instantly appealing. Meanwhile, "Roma/Amor" has a leaner structure that brings Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to mind with its dark, rumbling feel. The group then takes things down a notch for the sweeter, lovely "Two Wives," which has a simple melody and gorgeous Crowded House-ish harmonies, before returning to the pop realm with a rather barren, falsetto-driven "Focusfocusfocus," which doesn't quite work. What does work is the Kinks-like "You Are the Enemy," which concludes far too abruptly. Perhaps the highlight of the album is the adventurous "Cypress Fields," which sounds like some perfect mash-up of David Byrne and Interpol. But a close second is the rootsy singer/songwriter-ish "The Cliffdivers," which is in no rush to conclude. The lengthy gear-shifting and eventually rambling "A Lion in Winter" glides along as effortlessly as damn near everything else on this strong album.

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