Photo: Jaclyn Campanaro

Tu Fawning have just one piece of advice for prospective listeners: don’t try figuring them out. “It’s really difficult to put us into a genre,” says vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Corrina Repp. “We’re all musically adventurous people and love so many different kinds of music that every song feels like a new chapter to a book, in a way.”

She’s got a point; the Portland, Oregon four-piece has mastered the art of making diverse—yet still cohesive—music, as displayed on their sophomore album A Monument, which comes out this week. On opening track “Anchor” alone, the band bounces between ‘70s folk-rock and orchestral pop. A Monument spins out from there, dabbling in everything from the blues to post-punk to African drumming (as heard on “Blood Stain,” “Wager,” and “Bones,” respectively), all augmented by Repp’s undulating, smoky-yet-ethereal voice. Tu Fawning’s un-definable sound is in many ways influenced by the band’s approach to songwriting this album, with all four members contributing for the first time. “This album more than the last we just all came up with ideas,” remembers vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Liza Rietz. “I think it’s really a testament to how close we are getting musically and personally.”

One thing that didn’t worry them as a band was falling into a sophomore slump, in part because they viewed their first album, 2010’s Hearts on Hold, as a warm-up of sorts. “Honestly, I feel like our first record is OK. I think it was a really good first step for us. But I knew that we had a lot more in us,” admits Repp. Rietz agrees: “The term ‘sophomore slump’ is pretty funny, because you think it’s high expectations. Whereas I think we all arrived on this record; we created an individual voice and a collective voice in an authentic way. It just felt really natural.”

With a US tour this summer following their current run of shows through Europe, the band is looking forward to their homecoming. Portland is, in many ways, integral to the band’s existence. “I’ve been touring and playing in bands for 10 years and I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t in an environment that supported me,” says Rietz. Repp, too, has felt the local love, noting that “there have been plenty of occasions when I wanted to quit music and go back to school and live a ‘normal’ lifestyle, whatever that means. Luckily I’ve had friends and family that have supported me and allowed me to do what I want to do.” And the city loves them back—at least, the one portrayed on Portlandia does; both Repp and her Tu Fawning co-founder Joe Haege have appeared in a handful of the TV show’s skits. But their other creative outlets (Rietz has her own eponymous clothing label and multi-instrumentalist Toussaint Perrault has a solo project called Baby Dolls) have yet to distract them from getting together and making music. “I’m perpetually drawn to doing what I do, and the most amazing thing for me is being able to grow as a musician,” says Repp, adding, “I think, God, I would be really bummed out if I wasn’t where I was right now.”

VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)