by Matt Meade
The lead singer of this Canadian band / one person project is named Olivia Fetherstonhaugh (I know right !?!). fanshaw is the British, phonetic pronunciation of her name, though she pronounces her name like it is spelled. So… good luck with that.
On the 2010 effort Dark Eyes, Fetherstonhaugh puts on display a voice that is quite pretty, though she seems reluctant to be pigeon-holed as that kind of chick-singer, trying out various approaches throughout the course of the record. Across the nine tracks, she manages to simmer like Sharon Van Etten, twee it up like Traceyanne Campbell, and seduce like Stevie Nicks, but she never lapses into impression, always employing these various modes to whisper and creep her way through these wounded tunes. The half Portishead-jazz, half Belle & Sebastian style chamber pop arrangements provide enough variation, from splashy drums on “Vegas,” to strained and spare electric guitar of “Checkerboard,” to the horns on “O Sailor,” to match her sulky, sultry tones. Despite this versatility there is a cohesiveness to this set of songs and it has a lot to do with the robust self-assuredness of Fetherstonhaugh’s vocals.
Remember Interpol? Think of how much better they would have sounded if Bat For Lashes was their lead singer.
Twitter: Way too cool for social media. Exhibit A: She has a myspace page that she never checks. https://myspace.com/fanshawmusic
Label: Mint Records
Upcoming Shows: None. But she is working on new songs, so…
The title track, “Dark Eyes,” sounds like one of those Sonic Youth songs where Thurston Moore lets Kim Gordon sing, covered in a live show by the Magnetic Fields where Stephin Merritt lets Claudia Gonson sing.