In a tumultuous back and forth between darkness and light, the sophomore record from Farao is a heartful, organic display of desire and destruction.
âThe heart is the organ of desireâ croons Kari Jahnsen
(better known as Farao) in the opening track âMarry Meâ, taken from her sophomore album Pure-O
. The Norwegian multi-instrumentalistâs voice floats effortlessly above a tenacious yet patient bassline, which slowly descends into crackles of reverb and feedback, reflecting the rapture of romantic obsession. âMarry Meâ is a terrific opener, setting the lay of the land with warm-blooded emotion, romance, joy and passionate chaos.
Synthetically, âMarry Meâ ties together well with the pre-released single âLula Loves Youâ â a track which bounces back in the face of adversity with stomping drums, husky whispered backing vocals and those Soviet-era analogue synth splashes so synonymous with Faraoâs creative influences. Rippling from the centre of the track, the shade cast over the lyrics (âAnd there will be times when your heart is lonely / There will be days when he never comes home / And there will be a point where youâll want to leave himâ) is overpowered by a shining, synth-led light: âBut my darling please donât turn away from loveâ.
In a controlled, power move akin to the likes of PJ Harvey, âGet Alongâ makes use of that scuzzy, syncopated reverb our ears have become completely accustomed to. Leaning heavily on sensual synthesisers and zither to carry a danceable beat, the track has an organic quality only achieved through experimentation. The muted vocals lend to the record's analysis of the dichotomy of beauty and destructiveness in romantic relationships, allowing the listener to fall obsessively in love with ourselves in the movement.
âLuster Of The Eyesâ and âCluster of Delightsâ continue in the same vein â desirably danceable and devilishly dark. The former sets a pretence of jagged dysfunctionality in its opening bars, only to break into twinkling zither, subtle drums and expansive vocals. Meanwhile, the latter is unabashed in its sensuality; slowly slipping and slithering through Asian-inspired harps that quickly build up to a crescendo of convulsive electronics. âCluster of Delightsâ is a cluster of sexual delight and Farao is the raucous raconteur of an ecstatic, tantric experience: âI need a reaction to sedate my power play / In the dawn of the day / Try you on just to slip awayâ.
There is the tendency with contemporary synth-pop to fall too deeply into the inorganic â the desire to experiment and meld together so many different samples, styles and sounds can take strip the soul from any song in seconds. âGabrielâ, while busy and bustling in its production, still manages to beat with very real heart. Faraoâs soul, body and mind are laid bare in the speak-song sections of the track, which cleverly juxtapose its consistent bassline: âFabricated eyes / Stare at my body / Until I unfold / Want you by my side / Not just because I donât wanna be aloneâ.
Much in tune with its macabre title, âThe Ghost Shipâ prickles with icy insecurity. An unsettling track that makes the most of Faraoâs off-kilter instrumentation and vocal distortion; it begs to be played more than once. And while its story is clear (âI tried to make things better / But my brutality has always been out of my command / Itâs either now or never / I gotta get my shit together to be worthy of a manâ) itâs bygone impossible not to play it thrice over to decipher every little delicate detail.
Rounding out the album with pre-released single âTruthsayerâ is a fitting end to a sensual yet unsettling record. A track dedicated to personal growth and accepting our own impermanence, Farao emphasises her flair for crafting music that (on the surface) is sweet and delicate, but in actuality, is filled with dark energy. On every listen of Pure-O, the less pure it becomes; feedback, reverb and distortion seep through the cracks, drums sound fuller and the vocal delivery becomes more beautiful and more destructive.
Listen to Pure-O by Farao in full below.
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