Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables does some serious straddling. On one hand, she's affiliated with the avant-folk ensemble Sleepytime Gorilla Musuem, whose Nils Frykdahl is also a member of her band; on the other, she's lately been playing Rita Coolidge to Will Oldham's Kris Kristofferson (minus, presumably, the kissing and stuff). Her own material leans toward the former: Twisted and bittersweet, Faun Fables' A Table Forgotten is a four-song concept EP about the psychic tides of home and hearth. Domestication might not seem like the edgiest subject matter—and indeed, tracks like "With Words & Cake" and "Pictures" come across more like art-school projects than warm reminiscences. But the tension McCarthy creates between intellect and sentiment is stunning: The disc's title track is a veritable prairie-opera combining acoustic guitars, woodwinds, Nico-esque iciness, and earth-toned sketches of candlelit meals in bucolic kitchens. The closer, "Winter Sleep," strays from the concept—it feels like just another moody, eerie Faun Fables song tacked on the end. But as a placeholder before McCarthy's upcoming full-length, Table is a tasty bite.
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