11 Jul 2020
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Reb Fountain - Album Review: Reb Fountain

30 Apr 2020 // A review by Isla Norman
Reb Fountain’s latest release is more than an album: it’s a sonic experience. The songs are innovative and varied - there’s reason to give attention to every track. She appears to pull influences from all corners of the musical world. It’s no wonder that Reb Fountain has an impressive list of artists with whom she’s collaborated - she’s a musical force to be reckoned with.


The opening track Hawks & Doves begins with an unnerving “reversed” soundscape, until a finger picked guitar motif begins. Reb Fountain’s vocals enter, haunting and precise. Hawks & Doves continues to unnerve the listener by changing time signatures and repeating apocalyptic lyrics.

Samson changes the scene, beginning with vocals sung through a filter before transitioning into a spoken word and bass section. A piano takes over the bassline, painting a smokey room. Her lyrics feel like they were written by a prophet. Elements of Samson feel like the lovechild of Lana Del Ray and Regina Spektor’s music, with quiet influences from First Aid Kit. The song refuses to sit still, and that’s what I love about it.

Faster is a pleasant change of pace. Suddenly the atmosphere relaxes, and the listener feels like taking a deep breath. The simple strummed guitar and nonchalant vocals make the song feel nostalgic. It’s a “look through photo albums while it rains outside” kind of a song. The dreamy piano line belongs in a black and white film reel.

One of my favourite tracks on the album is the hidden Quiet Like The Rain. Two thirds through, it’s a bit of a dark horse. What captured me immediately was the opening line “then I go quiet like the rain”. Immediately I gravitated to Reb Fountain’s lyrics, which are mysterious and gripping. They paint vivid pictures while leaving questions unanswered.

While there are many reasons to listen to Reb Fountain, one of the most notable is her precise vocal performance. Her pitching is impeccable, and her timbre is otherworldly. She demonstrates a dynamic vocal range, transitioning effortlessly from a rich alto to eerie soprano.

The album concludes with the pensive Lighthouse. The washes over you, sending a sense of calm in waves. Overall, Reb Fountain’s self-titled album is insightful, and well produced. It’s a creative anthology of pieces, and well worth a listen.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Reb Fountain

Reb Fountain may be New Zealand’s best-kept secret. Identified as a “the best voice to come out of Christchurch in ten years” in the finals of Battle of the Bands way back in 1990 she disappeared off the Kiwi music map. Since then Reb occasionally appears at her old haunts, mesmerizes anyone who’s there with an increasingly polished repertoire of breathtaking vocals, soulful lyrics and melodic tunes, before vanishing into thin air again. So what ever happened to Reb Fountain?

Perhaps it’s more like what didn’t happen: She got her first guitar at six and by the age of thirteen she had mapped her poetry onto melody, writing lyrics to the sound of her acoustic guitar. She’s been singer/songwriter for three bands Immaculate Sun, Like Water and Beckoning South with talented musicians like Pete Woods (Salmonella Dub/DJ Rockwood), Tony Harlem (Future Stupid), Mark Tyler (Salmonella Dub) and Pete Hobbs (Lesley Speaker/Kitset); trained as a jazz vocalist at a college in Seattle performing with great musicians which drummed out any insecurities about playing live; lived and recorded in major musical cities like New York, Vancouver and London all the time living and breathing music.

Yet you could be forgiven for not knowing who Reb Fountain is. If you’ve been at one of her gigs you certainly wouldn’t have forgotten her. Or maybe, by chance, you would’ve heard one her low-fi 4 track recordings with Like Water on Indie Hit Disc (#5 and 8), doing the rounds on RDU and Radio One. There’s no doubt, with her immense talent and productivity as a singer/songwriter, that she should’ve made several records in the last decade, but that hasn’t been her path until now. She’s been a lover, a fighter, a mother, and a writer; got a degree, two gorgeous kids, plenty of knowledge with wisdom to boot, strong political leanings and a great big heart wide-open to the world around her. Fortunately for us it pulses deeper and stronger everyday with desire to have the freedom to write and play, perform and learn, travel and share music with others.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Reb Fountain

Releases

Reb Fountain
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Hopeful & Hopeless
Year: 2017
Type: EP
Little Arrows
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Holster
Year: 2008
Type: Album

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