Fern is a recent addition to the great little Saskatoon record label The Sound & Silence Collective, making her the first folk artist signed. If they were looking for endearing emotional folk ballads, they found the perfect addition. Despite Strange Fingerprints EP being a quick four song effort, Rachel Fowlie-Neufeld (Fern) squeezes as much as she can in her EP.
The hurried and verbose lyric style that makes up most of the songs in the EP is similar to that of Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley etc.) but mirrored with a soft and minimalistic folk style, the presentation is obviously different; contemplative and a bit more intimate.
The seasonally appropriate and first track from the EP, “Spring” is the strongest of the four. In at just over two minutes, Fern beautifully conveys the feeling that with the renewal of spring does not necessarily mean a regeneration of self or even happiness. (I never said the EP was a happy one…)
The following two songs “Old Habits” and “Myth” both feature fuller arrangements, specifically highlighted by a gentle violin addition, and have similar tones of melancholy despite the sweet tones of Fowlie-Neufeld’s voice. In the chorus of “Old Habits,” a repetition of the simple question, “are you lost, dear?” does well to summarize the mood of Strange Fingerprints EP, a feeling that gets lost in the Prairie sky by the end of the EP.
A piano-centred ballad, “Prairie Skies” uses Fern’s Prairie roots to depict a heartbreaking love song that ushers Strange Fingerprints EP out with a beautifully soft lament from Fowlie-Neufeld, some final stray piano notes, and a very seconds of silence to contemplate it all.
Strange Fingerprints EP is available April 26th.
Top Track: “Spring”
Rating: Young Hoot (Decent)