Scott Maynard, Jeremy Hunter, Al Green, Matt Maynard, and Mike Isaacs form Fuyuko’s Fables, a band that creates dreamy folk compositions with the combination of well arranged instrumentation and harmonious vocals.
With folk music it has never really been about the musical technicality or even all to much about the ability to sing even, at least not in my eyes and I’m sure many others as well. Instead, the appeal of folk comes more from the ability to write good songs, something to sing to, something to relax to, something you could easily play on a guitar with all of your friends; it is a social type of music that is only made better when you have other people to share it with. Fuyuko’s Fable’s keeps the traditional elements of folk, these personal warm arrangements and expands on them with significantly more focus on graceful melodies and harmonious vocals than you would find otherwise.
Scott’s voice is very pleasant from the beginning of the first track to the end of the album. ‘Buildings’ begins with this supple boyish vocal that is accompanied twiddling guitar and a lush combination of strings and horns with more instruments eventually jumping in, all contributing to a slow build up; it all comes together to make up an organic end result. When there aren’t lyrics to sung the vocals are usually filling in certain areas with these harmonized “Ooos” and “Ahhhs” backed by other members of the band that are completed with clarinet rising up out of a medley of other instruments. Just the beginning of this track features some of my favorite playing on the EP which is sprinkled throughout in the form of tranquil breaks. The band isn’t simply playing together, it doesn’t sound planned in the same way Holden Caulfield sees the actors in a film act, instead each member fulfills their role in other ways by working as separate units with each combining there individual duties to create something that sounds, at times, instinctive.
If you aren’t listening for the great instrumentation or the breathy vocals you will likely be listening for the thoughtful lyrics, the almost poetic words that remind one of simple things such as youth, innocence, love, and all of these vague but personal emotions that we all experience, emotions that are particularly noticeable on ‘Drag em’, the second track on the album. ‘Drag em’ switches gears into a more upbeat and straightforward approach that is full of calm well placed lulls and plenty of falsetto vocals. As the end of the final track indicates so bluntly, “we’ve all been loved” and we’ve all heard songs about it, songs that sing of vague emotions amongst other clichés. Its no secret that these concepts get old but in a way I kind of have to applaud Fuyuko’s Fables in the sense that they make it easy to connect through these unclear passages. You aren’t forced to guess the meaning of a song in terms of what it means to them, instead it is very easy to form your own stories, take from these songs their meaning and apply it to something that we have all likely experienced such as love and if there is any indication of good songwriting or a reason to enjoy this band, for me it is this.
As stated at the beginning of this review, the success of this band, the attractiveness of their sound lies in their ability to create easily digestible folky pieces of music but at the same time this is also where they reach a negative point for me. The fact that there isn’t the slightest hint of dissonance or anything at all negative about this band’s sound; even when they are singing about something sad they are doing it in such a positive and enjoyable way. Their consistency, at a point begins to change into a lack of variety which can become a headache after so long and as much as the vocals are a highlight for me it would have been nice to hear some variation.
Despite this EPs very minor shortcomings all of the positive attributes of the album overcome them. The strengths this band has, the straightforward and simplistic way they work together to deliver emotions to their audience is all so relatable and makes for a great way to spend 25 minutes of a spring or Summer evening.
Overall rating: 8.0
Favorite Track: ‘Buildings’ ‘Drag ’em’
Recommended: Your childhood or a summer’s day in the woods.
Released: 07 September 2011