Faun Fables The Transit Rider

Drawing from impassioned vocalists in the vein of Sinéad O’Connor and Diamanda Galás, Dawn McCarthy has created a harrowing soundtrack to her theatrical production, The Transit Rider. The record is epic folk at its most overwrought, as McCarthy and Faun Fables co-conspirator Nils Frykdahl adopt roles, not of characters per se, but more of theatrical performers. The sense that a scene is being played out on songs like "Roadkill” is overwhelming and the contrived aspects of acting are too readily apparent. It’s too bad because the lyrical presentation undermines the dramatic potential within the music itself. There’s a rich sonic landscape of image-inducing ambience and broad instrumentation lurking beneath the surface. Shades of Nick Cave are present in "Fire & Castration” and "The Questioning,” and Fiery Furnaces fans will surely appreciate the playful spazziness of "The Corwith Brothers.” All in all though, The Transit Rider is a little too precious and self-serious for its own good. (Drag City)