Within two seconds of hearing them sing, there are some singer/songwriters who you know you're going to hate. Their styles are so affected or goofy that it doesn't matter how pretty the melodies or how clever the lyrics, you're not going to be able to enjoy them. Then there are others whose vocal affectations are equally distracting, but who hold your attention anyway because you can tell there's something deeper beneath the surface, and maybe even something that justifies the vocal goofiness. Piers Faccini's vocal style can't really be called goofy, but it's definitely on the willful side -- quavery and often on the thin verge of falsetto, his singing voice sometimes comes across like a frailer approximation of Tom Waits. The similarity may not be entirely accidental, either; on this, his U.S. debut album, he opens with a song that features scratchy violin, junkyard accordion, a creaky vocal, and a stunningly gorgeous melody -- the recipe for about half the songs Waits has written. But Faccini is also capable of surprising you, as he does on "Sharpening Bone" (which starts off lightly funky and then lapses into a sort of dubby acoustic reggae) and on "Sons and Daughters" (which features something that sounds startlingly like prepared guitar along with something that sounds startlingly like a fiddle being slowly eaten by a dinosaur). When he goes for minimalist ethereality, the results are hit ("Come the Harvest") and miss ("Days Like These"). Hits outnumber the misses on this album. This guy bears watching.
Tearing Sky Review
by Rick Anderson