Touched Fables - A Thousand Goodbyes
This review was commissioned. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
A ripe fruit was plucked from the three and handed unto Paul Anthony and Jim Roditis. With this infernal knowledge did they combine their talents to form Touched Fables, a brand-new darkwave duo who had to dig through the recesses of their storage spaces to unearth 1980s drum machines, minimal synths, and ghostly guitars. These haunted instruments, once dusted off and cleaned properly (I hope), gave life to their debut album “A Thousand Goodbyes”. And while this does not rewrite darkwave history, and it plays pretty close to genre tropes, there’s something magical and ethereal about the production behind “A Thousand Goodbyes” that allows it to transcend from a lot of modern music.
The first of which comes down to Touched Fables’ simplicity and dedication to their craft. Sure, the instruments their using might be old but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used in the modern era. Take the ‘Altitude Low’, for example, the first trac that truly wowed me on the album. Male-fronted darkwave projects have primarily fallen into a dank pit of despair. I’ve said this multiple times where the trend is to add reverb to a mic and sing as low as possible, sounding drunk as you mumble into the mic. This is not the case with Touched Fables, who actually have a love and appreciation for the genre. ‘Altitude Low’ features twangy guitars, a soothing bass rhythm, and a plethora of trinkling synths that brings out a light in the dark.
Sad dance music takes shape throughout the album on songs such as ‘Cold Arms’. A song that got my toes tapping at the very desk I sat as I wrote this review. It’s not a dancefloor club killer, but its one that could easily play at a Halloween party and fit right in between bouts of Ministry’s ‘Everyday is Halloween’ and Siouxsie and the Banshees’ ‘Spellbound’.
This is primarily a darkwave experience, but Touched Fables also isn’t afraid to experiment beyond that border on tracks such as ‘Nothing Undone’. This song is much more in line with the BPM stylings of EBM; throbbing bassline and grittier, experimental sounds all about. It’s like a long-lost track from a late eighties untitled EBM EP that was never finished brought back to life.
They’ve also room for an instrumental on this album, that is ‘I Close My Eyes’, which is a brilliant little number. Pretty much, Touched Fables take all their techniques from previous songs and slap them here; they constantly shift the music around understanding that, for an instrumental to be successful, it needs to flow and move, not stay stagnant.
There aren’t that many songs that bring down the experience. One of them is ‘I See Your Shadow’. The lyrical delivery and synth pairing is oddball, to say the very least. Odd synths that sound as if they’re being twisted against their will follow the vocals during chorus and it sounds off, drowning out either sound. It sounds amateur. The verse is better, however, so take it for what you will.
So, again, Touched Fables isn’t breaking boundaries with Darkwave. They aren’t anywhere near close; in fact, they’re so comfortable that they’ve nested themselves within the womb of darkwave and have no plans of coming out for quite some time. BUT, that doesn’t stop them from doing what they do well. Extremely well, at that. Hardly any downsides to this album, and a ton of fun content.Sep 08 2023
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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