Call it freak folk, acid folk, New Weird America, progressive folk, folk-prog, or the result of too many lysergic brain-ticklers at a Renaissance Faire, but Faun Fables — a.k.a. Dawn McCarthy and whomever else she assembles — is at its forefront. A Table Forgotten is a four-song EP/mini-album that resists easy categorization except the recurring theme of keeping house and making one's domicile a home. Even compared to previous Fables platters, it's hard to hang a name on this Table. Musically, it's less Anglo-American "folk" than it is a song cycle, closer to the classical European art-song tradition and the less bombastic variants of progressive rock. The somber near-march tempos of "With Words and Cake" and the title song are rich with echoes of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's "Threepenny Opera" and the quirky art-rock of Henry Cow (and their spin-off, Art Bears). McCarthy sings in a very proper, subtly commanding yet matter-of-fact tone, eerily giving the impression the listener is surreptitiously spying on an unfolding domestic mosaic. The symphonic-sounding "Winter Sleep" recalls the somewhat underrated 1970s Brit prog combo Renaissance, with McCarthy's achingly forlorn wordless soprano a spectacularly recurring motif. Though relatively short, A Table Forgotten is a mature, dense, and provocative piece of work deserving of several focused listens.
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