Raising the Fawn The Maginot Line

While John Crossingham’s solo project finally seems to have settled into a solid band formation, there’s a real insularity to Raising the Fawn’s latest batch of moody, art rock songs. Whereas the band’s last effort, The North Sea, possessed an infectious, rhythmic bounce, The Maginot Line is a dense collage of guitar harmonics and crashing drums. Long songs give the band freedom to explore expansive ideas, but for every burst of inspired guitar experimentation and martial drumming, there is an overarching sense that these songs don’t really go anywhere. Sure, "Until it Starts Again” is a soaring rock-out once it gears up, but it takes an unpleasant scenic route through too-precious hand-clapping and group vocals to reach its glorious climax. Crossingham’s voice is a delicate, ever-changing instrument and he wields it wisely. He coos quietly on the sprawling "Christmastime in the Fields,” and emotes with the conviction of Reg Vermue on "Carbon Paper” and "The Matador.” Against a jammy, Sonic Youth/Crazy Horse-inspired soundtrack, Crossingham’s cryptic speech is a voice in the wilderness that is difficult to connect with. Raising the Fawn offer rewards to dedicated, deep listeners but their post-rock indulgences prove to be somewhat alienating on The Maginot Line. (Sonic Unyon)