Music Review: Fay Wolf – Spiders

Many of the new artists I hear, I hear first in the soundtrack for a television show. For example, I first heard Eva Cassidy‘s cover of Cyndi Lauper‘s “Time After Time” on an episode of Smallville. And I heard Alexi Murdoch‘s “Breathe” for the first time in an early episode of Stargate Universe. And I first heard Fay Wolf, though I didn’t know it at the time, on an early episode of Covert Affairs.

So when I started listening to Fay’s new album Spiders, I knew I’d heard the voice before but it took me a while to figure out where. But I shouldn’t have been surprised that I first heard her music on TV, as her songwriting and composition style effortlessly combines storytelling and drama in much the same way as some of my favorite shows. Though her style is all her own, my ear keeps comparing her to artists as diverse as Florence + The Machine and Tori Amos, who also tell stories beneath the melodies.

Since listening to the music of Spiders, I’ve discovered that her songs have also been featured on episodes of Gray’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, and Pretty Little Liars. Beyond that, she is a classically-trained actress who has worked in theater, film and television with appearances on Law & Order, Numb3rs, Bones, Ghost Whisperer, and NCIS: Los Angeles. And if the music and acting wasn’t enough to keep her busy enough, she’s also a professional organizer with her own company “New Order,” named after the band.

Spiders is full of emotional honesty but also includes a bit of wit and humor within her lyrics. A word of advice however, she also includes a bit of explicit language in those lyrics, so though her music is amazing it might be best for a more mature audience.

The album starts with two of my favorite songs – “The Thread of the Thing” and “The Passing” – which set things off on the right foot.

“The Thread of the Thing” employs the dreamy feel of someone trying to explain how they feel. The lyrics are stream of consciousness but hit me like those conversations between lovers as they fall asleep… “And the stories of kings and the needle and the thread of the thing… in a little while I see that I love the way you came on…” Between the steady percussion like a heartbeat, the simple chording, and the atmospheric effects, it really got my attention quickly.

“The Passing” on the other hand manages to sound very different than “The Thread of the Thing,” featuring Fay’s voice and piano skills. Again, it’s like a dreamy conversation – “See here’s the thing / I love being in motion / and wrapped around you… I can hear you / and I can see the time / the time passing / the time passing by…” It’s as though her voice tells the story as her fingers dance across the keys.

In the middle of the album, “Pull” just seems to ring true again about… you guessed it. Love. This time it’s a bit more outwardly happy in the melody. “But y’figured out that the least you could understand / your heart is open to someone else’s hand…” Love sometimes manages to pull the breath from us, just like falling down in the snow. But the almost calliope-sounding keys gives this song a strong feel of fun while keeping that atmospheric piano behind the scenes.

But “In the Way” is the opposite to the languid feel of “The Thread of the Thing” with a melody that is at once sad, but honest. “How did we fall in love in a week / and how do we get away / how do we see if the cracks in the plan / are the reasons that we play the game…” Again, it’s simply Fay and a piano telling an honest story about romance. Sometimes things don’t work out and “if it’s all not fair, then why are you here.” Sometimes we have to look deeper than the fun we’re having to see that something isn’t good.

Spiders manages to express the complexities of love without seeming trite. I think that’s her gift, telling stories of love when it goes right and when it falls apart. Check it out at your favorite retailer. And for details about Fay, be sure to drop by her website FayWolfMusic.com.

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

DVD Review: Forget Me Not

Hi all!

As I get older, I realize more and more that my memory works in odd ways. For example, I’m great with faces but have to work at remembering names. I can remember song lyrics and melodies for years and years, but sometimes can’t remember why I came into a room… You know, the usual tricks memory plays with age.

The new film – Forget Me Not from Phase 4 Films – plays on some of those tricks of memory in an interesting combination of elements from the Final Destination series, The Ring, and I Know What You Did Last Summer. It’s a throwback in some respects to the older slasher movies where you have a group of clueless teenagers who end up paying a horrible price for something they may or may not have done in the first place.

Sandy Channing (Carly Schroeder from TV’s Lizzie McGuire, Law & Order: SVU, Ghost Whisperer) is graduating from high school with her brother Eli (Cody Linley from TV’s Hannah Montana) and all the rest of her friends. They seem to be your typical high school group – sexed up and ready to drink until they forget that they’re moving on with the rest of their lives. At a graduation party, they play an old game from their childhood in a graveyard and unwittingly catch the eye of a vengeful spirit. Can Sandy figure out what’s going on before it’s too late and she’s lost all her friends in the spirit’s twisted game?

Quite honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from Forget Me Not but was intrigued by the premise. As the film progresses, Sandy’s circle of friends continues to dwindle until… Never mind, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Let’s just say that once we got past the setup with this group of high school graduates ready to take on the world, things started moving nicely.

Considering that I haven’t paid much attention to many of the hip, young shows on the Disney Channel and in other places, I really didn’t know anybody in the cast. But I think all the actors had a chance to play their main role and then dress up in a scary mask once their character was taken out of the game, so that had to have been fun. I have to admit I was rooting for the “ghosts” in a few places just to see karma run its course… And it did, right up to the twist at the end.

Though the special effects were pretty basic, they were used pretty well. The shaking and fast-forwarded movement of the monsters always adds a nice touch. As more “ghosts” began appearing, the masks got a bit cheesy when seen close-up. The masks themselves seemed to be a combination of the Ice Cream Man from Legion with the expandable jaw and the creepy girl from The Ring. Definitely a combination that hadn’t been done before. And at a distance, the masks looked fine – especially in the dark – but in the light as things begin coming to a head, they get a bit unbelievable.

Beyond the film, there really weren’t any special features beyond a few deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and a photo gallery. None of the deleted scenes really added anything to the film, so I can definitely see why they left them out. And the alternative ending just expands on what was actually in the film. I preferred the short version without the exposition that they used in the film. The photo gallery is simply a collection of stills from the film and the original trailer was included.

If you’re looking for a new horror movie that takes a lot of inspiration from earlier movies in the genre, you can do a lot worse than Forget Me Not. I found it to be a fun film with a slow reveal that pays off in the end. Forget Me Not will be available on DVD and VOD on May 24, 2011. Be sure to check it out!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other horror on DVD below!

Enhanced by Zemanta