Keeping may be an album of “quiet songs,” but they hold multitudes in their stillness.
Liam Faucher’s simple, two-word Bandcamp profile — “Quiet songs.” — pretty much sums up everything about his music but doesn’t go far enough in describing the myriad forms of quiet his songs invoke. Then again, given how many times I’ve stopped and restarted this review, I don’t think any amount of words will ever do justice to the muted intensity and uncomplicated-yet-evocative arrangements of his latest album, Keeping.
It’s not surprising to learn that Faucher recorded Keeping on a “$0 budget” alone in his hundred-year-old home in Edmonton. Its eight songs seem to have absorbed the aura and essence of the building, orchestrating its creaks and groans alongside Faucher’s folky acoustic guitar strumming. He’s done little to edit or airbrush any ambient sounds out of winsome tunes like “Snow Day” and “Eerie,” preferring to present these songs as captured in the moment, in their purest essence. Still, ambiance and atmosphere make little difference if the songs can’t live up to their setting, which in Faucher’s case, they most surely do. He could play the wistful “Before You” in a meat locker and make it sound warm, cozy and inviting.
Earlier this year, Faucher released the first two songs on Keeping, “Little Harm” and “Local Business,” under the moniker Humours (he released a highly recommended album in 2020 under that name called Home Recipes, as well). Though he gives no official reason for reverting to using his name, it is evident in the lush multi-tracked harmonies on “Esther” and the elegant title track that Faucher is owning his artistry and talent. He is an experimentalist at heart, chasing his muse to find the most direct route to the heart of the song. Faucher has the soul of a seasoned storyteller (as evidenced by album closer “Secondhand Mall” and the aforementioned “Little Harm” and “Local Business”) and the spirit of an artist driven to create as if their life depended on it. Keeping may be an album of “quiet songs,” but they hold multitudes in their stillness.
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