3 Dec 2021
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Reb Fountain - Album Review: Iris

01 Oct 2021 // A review by Roger Bowie

Psyche emerges from an opening string sequence which evokes a western movie soundtrack before simplifying to a naked piano behind a barrage of poetry and sailing under a vast star….”who are we in this life?” And then, yes, we know who you are as the song picks up from where Don’t You Know Who I Am? left off.

And thus, we are away on a journey to Iris, the album which arises from the ashes of last year’s lockdown commitment to one song a day. Reb Fountain is back, prolific, not knowing if a song a day will work but with love and care from her collaborators the songs take studio shape and it’s clear this muse was no illusion.

There are influences and influencers however, subtle, and a hint of a shift in direction, we can’t catch Reb but we can try and keep up as Iris unveils itself in sometimes short staccato sequences which stop as suddenly as they start, but always with a melody. This is not a hard album to like. Foxbright echoes Aldous before taking its own Donnie Darko path, and old themes appear in the headlights and burrows are sanctuaries.

But yes, a hint of a shift, away from the raw Americana of Lucinda Williams and towards the subtle folk/pop of Lana Del Rey. Retaining some Nick Cave darkness, Iris is Reb’s most immediately accessible work to date. An instant effect, as if the previous album was just a teaser, an Invisible Man. We’ve had a taste of Heart, with its ever so sultry video and further echoes of earlier work, but also progressive to pop. Reb is moving up towards mainstream, but not to it. We don’t want that; we’re ok with the threat and then the retreat. Beastie takes us back to the Reb of many voices, many tones, but there’s no hint of desperation, nor anguish nor plaintiveness nor uncertainty. Reb Fountain knows who she is, she’s moving on and along, more confident in her skin, no less nervous on the inside, but decidedly more assured on the out.

Count your lucky stars, Nick Cave, let’s have a helluva time with the Ark allusion and the Fisherman walking on water. No holes in her feet. From a biblical to a cruel Titanic sea, Swim to the Star, about the ill-fated voyage from Southampton, “goin down, down, down”.

Lacuna is a missing part, in this case the song which comes closest to rocking out, or at least the promise of a band cut loose live. “What a way to start, kisses in the dark”

Iris is the eye’s diaphragm, letting in light, and Iris was the goddess of the rainbow and messenger for the gods. Iris the title track starts like an old time Hollywood movie, but segues into song about love, not surprisingly, given the pedigree of the title, and of the legendary Iris who links the gods to humanity. All the colours. All the shades. All the nuances. All the frailty of the human condition.

And so we have Reb Fountain’s new album, Iris, which closes with the most beautiful Intermission. For me the standout track. “This is how we make it out alive”. And a fitting smorgasbord of themes and influences, as if all that has gone before has led to this, it’s only intermission, we’ve only just begun. Reb Fountain has only just begun. “Funny how the time flies”. This is how we make it. Refraction of light. Rainbow. Fountain of Reb.

Iris is out today on Flying Nun Records.

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

Iris
Year: 2021
Type: Album
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

Other Reviews By Roger Bowie

Adam Hattaway & The Haunters - Album Review: Rooster
18 Nov 2021 // by Roger Bowie
There’s a rooster down south, hiding out in Woolston, Christchurch and this rooster struts around like Jagger, high kicks Van Morrison out of the henhouse, and wakes you up in the morning with a raucous squawk. Why won’t that rooster shut the fuck up?
Read More...
Harry Hodgman - EP Review: Puzzle
01 Nov 2021 // by Roger Bowie
Harry Hodgman plays the piano. He sings a little as well, a bit like Rufus Wainwright or Perfume Genius.
Read More...
Stewart Allan - Album Review: 9 Rooms
18 Oct 2021 // by Roger Bowie
Oh my goodness, how many more hidden talents do we have in this lockdown land? Stewart Allan has been a musician for over 20 years and first made a name for himself in a forest in Poland before the wall came down.
Read More...
Darryn Harkness - Album Review: Rare Grooves And Tone Research Volume 1
13 Oct 2021 // by Roger Bowie
I met Darryn Harkness a few weeks ago when he supported Andrew Fagan in a little gig in a little bar called The St Heliers Bay Pigeon Racing Club. Yes.
Read More...
The Jesse Wilde Band - Album Review: Headin' South
12 Oct 2021 // by Roger Bowie
With a name like Jesse Wilde you’d be sure he must be an outlaw. Especially when he looks a lot like Duane Allman in his cover photo.
Read More...
Kendall Elise - Album Review: Let The Night In
26 Aug 2021 // by Roger Bowie
The new album from Kendall Elise is out today. It’s called Let The Night In, and once again Kendall recorded at Roundhead.
Read More...
Kerryn Fields - Album Review: Water
19 Aug 2021 // by Roger Bowie
At last, some 2 ½ years after seeing her for the first time and hearing some new songs, Kerryn Field’s sophomore album, Water hit my inbox (thanks Kerryn) and is now firmly ensconced in my hard drive. Now I can listen to the whole collection, and from the opening unaccompanied courageously operatic shrill, Atlantis emerges… we’ve heard this song before, the one which pays homage to Rust Never Sleeps and Pocahontas and the death wish which surges in response to the way Kerryn’s partner loves that song.
Read More...
Gig Review: Graeme James @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 13/08/2021
15 Aug 2021 // by Roger Bowie
On a cool spring evening (spring always started in August where I grew up, down south) the Tuning Fork is nicely staged with a clutch of instruments neatly arranged in anticipation. The modest crowd bunches up to form an intimate cluster and a familiar face takes the stage in the form of Chris/Albi without the Wolves, or at least half of them because the willowy, billowy puppet-like figure of Pascal Roggen also joins him on half a dozen instruments more commonly known as the violin.
Read More...
View All Articles By Roger Bowie

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • EASY ON ME
    Adele
  • COLD HEART (PNAU REMIX)
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
  • ALL TOO WELL (10 MINUTE VERSION) (TAYLOR'S VERSION)
    Taylor Swift
  • OH MY GOD
    Adele
  • SMOKIN' OUT THE WINDOW
    Silk Sonic
  • SHIVERS
    Ed Sheeran
  • I DRINK WINE
    Adele
  • STAY
    The Kid LAROI And Justin Bieber
  • INDUSTRY BABY
    Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
  • MY LITTLE LOVE
    Adele
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem