Full Time Hobby have been such a consistent and creative label presence on the UK scene for so long now that the news that 'Till It's All Forgotten', the debut album from Farao is to be its next release is pretty much an automatic mark of that album's quality.
Produced by Mike Lindsay of Tunng, this is a record that fizzes and bristles with atmosphere and nuance. All of which is to forget, criminally, that the voice at the centre of it all, which belongs to Kari Jahnsen, is a rare instrument. At times, it is sweet, like the DuPree sisters who perform vocal duties for Eisley, at others it is strident and commanding. Through all of these elements, Farao present a debut album which arrives fully formed and ready to capture hearts and minds.
In 'Anchor', Farao has a stonewall classic song, a hit single surely in the making. As its pulsing pianos and layered, synthesised backing vocals provide an unusual yet wondrous rhythmic bed, the chorus hook blithely proclaims "You'll never hurt, 'cos you're no anchor for a man" (unless our ears need washing out). That this spine-tingling track comes in the latter part of the album's midsection should give an indication of just how strong the rest of the material contained herein is.
'TIAF' is a driving soul-pop opener with a blinding chorus. 'Bodies' kicks in on a TV On The Radio groove before straightening out into a funky verse, which in turn gives way to a ricocheting chorus. And so on and so on. This is an album to beguile and bewitch. 'Maze' is built on a jazz-tinged syncopated piano figure which gives Jahnsen's vocal performance room to breathe, before building to a percussion and brass driven climax which is as unexpected as it is exhilarating.
It's around this time in the album's running order that it becomes conclusively clear that Farao is an artist who is in complete control of her vision and destiny. She knows what she wants, and she is going to attain it. We might as well all get on board and enjoy the ride. This is a splendid debut.
Words: Haydon Spenceley
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