Nearly four years ago now, Edmonton quintet Faunts came out of nowhere with an album of blistering, mercurial post-rock/shoegaze that ranked right up with greats like Young Team and Nowhere, that left pink-pop/noise aficionados slack-jawed and awed in its wake. They’d taken the baton of The Lassie Foundation and sped off at light speed, carrying the same natural influences (MBV, Hum and Smashing Pumpkins) towards new sonic vistas that combined their raging-yet-angelic bombast with a soft pink underbelly of gooey pop thrills. But four years is eons in terms of a band, and echoing the changes of the world around them, Faunts’ second full-length record is, in terms of pure sound, a vast departure from their debut.
The sonic transformation that Feel.Love.Thinking.Of. documents will undoubtedly inspire mixed feelings, and, depending on your personal tastes, will either be viewed as a cause for celebration that finds them moving in a bold new direction, or a cause for alarm that they’ve ditched their slow-burning shoegaze persona (i.e. heavy phasing, feedback maelstroms and loping rhythms) for seemingly ineffectual electro-pop. To their credit, their reinvention never sounds forced or awkward, nor does it reek of bandwagoneering, rather, it seems a natural progression towards more pop-based songwriting and an insistence that no longer shall they hide their stellar melodies and worldly chops behind walls of static and noise. Still, one can’t help but wonder what the title-track or “I Think I’ll Start a Fire” would sound like given the full-blown-out treatment that the Faunts of old were so fond of.
As someone who greatly enjoyed the shimmering, pedal-damaged bombast of High Expectations/Low Results, this album feels a bit flat and lacking anything truly dynamic, but with full realization that puts me in the minority, it’s not out of line to say that Faunts’ brand of synth-bedecked electro-pop is head and shoulders above that of their peers. And in that regard, even if old guard fans aren’t happy with the results, Feel.Love.Thinking.Of. is a rousing success that should land them at the top of their newly chosen heap.