What do you get when you cross the musical vision of two legendary industrial producers with the vocals and lyrics of a successful pop artist? Incredibly, something really quite beautiful.
In truth, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. After all, Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber may have noise terrorists such as Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly shouting loudly from their joint resumé, but the “masses” will best know their work as Delerium, where darkwave electronica is lent a commercial sheen courtesy of guest vocalists such as Sarah McLachlan and former Sixpence None The Richer frontwoman, Leigh Nash.
Fauxliage is a full-on Leeb/Fulber/Nash collaboration, and although the music bears more resemblance to the dreamy pop of Fulber’s solo side-project Conjure One than to Delerium, from the moment Nash utters: “I’ll break you down / I’ll take you down down / Fill you with sadness / Make your life madness” in opener All The World, you know the gothic spirit is present even if not in the flesh.
Fauxliage may not be exuberant but exquisite it certainly is. All The World may just be the best pop song you’ll hear all year – all swirling keys, flecks of guitar, a simple drumbeat and Nash’s gorgeous, gorgeous vocals at odds with the menace of her words.
And it is not alone. Someday The Wind, Draw My Life and Let It Go may not be quite as otherworldly but they are still resplendent in sterling melodies and the purity of Nash’s voice.
In fact, it is when Leeb and Fulber try to “go it alone” that Fauxliage comes unstuck. They get away with it on the classic trip-hop of Magic, partly because of bassist Leah Randi’s well-placed ethereal vocal touches. However, Vibing simply feels naked without Nash, even before considering the incongruity of its nouveau lounge-jazz feel.
Thankfully, Without You, Rafe and All Alone see Fauxliage going back to business, or rather pleasure, with more delectable melodies, subtle instrumentation and fall-in-love vocals.
The two remixes of Rafe that are tagged on to the end are superfluous and inferior to the original but let that not be a distraction to the key point: Fauxliage is exactly the sort of pop that SHOULD be damaging the charts. Start a petition. Heck, start a Facebook group. But make sure you buy this.