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FARA - Times From Times Fall  

FARA - Times From Times Fall  
Private Label FARA002  

Four twentysomethings from Orkney, Fara shook up the folk world across the UK with their first album, and number two is just as destabilising. As well as eight great instrumental tracks all composed by the band, Fara have set three poems to music here - the title comes from one of these - but actually the most poetic piece on this CD is Jeana Leslie's song, See It All. In addition to its beautiful melody and arrangement, it contains the heart-breaking lines: “I will be the one that you feel / When the wind blows kisses through your hair”. Edwin Muir's and George Mackay Brown's words don't quite measure up to this. Christina Costie's Orcadian dialect poem, Speir Thoo The Wast Wind, has a hard edge to it, partly from the percussive Fara arrangement but also from the fatalism of island women whose sons and lovers and husbands left for work and all too often never returned: a powerful piece and another vocal highlight.

Described in the press release as "whisky-soaked", Fara's tunes are certainly far from sober at times. The grinding Simple Dirt is caught between Scandinavia and South Carolina, old-timey in a distinctly Nordic way. The Depliction is more instantly recognisable as a Northern Isles tune, Kristan Harvey's reel gliding neatly into My Favourite Cow, which is one of several four-way compositions on this release. Frances' Day and Miss Rosa Sermanni Holmes are joyful pieces, one full of grace, the other full of beans and mischief. 7, 8, Nein and I'll Do It Last Friday both have an element of humour, but I can quite imagine the latter is a feature of timeless island life rather than a slip of the tongue: either way, it has inspired a slip jig with a hint of trowie music which is well worth learning. The opening medley of polka, jig and reel showcases Fara's fiddle-heavy sound with powerful piano accompaniment, polished by many years of fiendish sessions, and the final air, Maxwell's Light, exemplifies the tender side of their music: delicate, thoughtful, soothing. Times From Times Fall offers another broad palette of sounds, and marks a second compelling album for Fara. 

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.