20 Jan 2022
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Fathom - Single Review: Mother Star

26 Nov 2021 // A review by Cathy Elizabeth
Mother Star is the debut single that introduces Fathom, solo project of Auckland-based Nancy Howie, to the world, with an extravagant and emphatic throwing back of the curtains, and a celebratory sense of letting the sun shine in.


I suspect the incredibly creative and resourceful Howie has single-handedly ushered in the Age of Aquarius with this wholesome and uplifting alt-folk anthem.

Recorded at home on many different instruments, some of which she has made herself, Mother Star is the initial teaser for Fathom’s upcoming debut album The World To Breathe.

The album was created through a process of inventing and making instruments during the 2020 lockdown period, and it was the instruments themselves that inspired the songs to be written, which I thought was a really unique way of approaching music creation.

The song itself, while framed as “a plea for answers” and “a reminder to be the best human you can be in the face of widespread confusion, frustration and anxiety", is a joyful Californian summer’s day, and is brimming with positive energy and light.

Vocally harmonised throughout, and driven along by lively, strummy, acoustic guitar and percussion, the musicality is creative and unpredictable, the chorus; a celebration.

Accompanied by a colourful and equally creative video clip, the retro themes shine through with 70’s summer-festival vibes and colourful cut-outs flying by.

Howie hangs out with multiple versions of herself, playing all the instruments and percussive elements of the song, and at one point serenading herself on the couch. I love that this reflects, in a sense, that this is a conversation with the Sun. And the Sun warmly replies. And that ultimately, all that is needed is found within.

I found Mother Star heart-opening, toe-tapping and energising, bringing with it a wonderful sense of hope and joy.

An inspiring debut from a very talented and interesting new artist. I will be following on my socials!

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Fathom

Fathom is the brainchild of Nancy Howie, singer-songwriter, musician and maker. Hailing from Auckland by way of a nomadic nautical childhood, her latest project is a sprawling bedroom-folk experiment featuring DIY instruments and home-recorded music which tests the limits of lockdown-borne creativity.

Nancy has written and performed with her folk trio Tweed for almost a decade, playing in Auckland Folk Festival, on Radio New Zealand’s NZ Live programme, and for theatrical presentations in which they were commissioned to write the music. However, NZ’s first COVID lockdown forced the band to take a break from performance. Stranded at home, Nancy discovered a passion for inventing and building experimental instruments, beginning with a fencepost-based creation resembling a cello, and expanding to balloon-saxophones, unusual percussion instruments, and an improvised hurdy gurdy.

Her upcoming release The World to Breathe is the end result of a year of DIY instrument building combined with a collection of songs which explore themes of anxiety, self-discovery and unfamiliarity of life under COVID-19. The album was recorded at home during the lockdown, and features instruments handmade in her basement. Her music incorporates influences of ‘70s folk-rock, jazz, and indie, but the sound of homemade instrumentation is uniquely her own.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Fathom

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