When Josh over at the Sound and Silence Collective sent me Fern’s debut EP, a four-track piece called Strange Fingertips, I was excited for what he called “beautifully gravel road-esque.” But, as has (unfortunately) become true to form, I listened to the music (loved it) and went on my way.
Now, I re-listened to Strange Fingertips (re-loved it), and here we are.
Overall, the record is a wonderfully folksy and softly peaceful listen. Fern’s haunting vocals take centre stage, but still manage to balance the expert musicianship.
Album opener ‘Spring’, with its sweetly soft vocals and peaceful acoustic guitar, does wonders to calm one’s soul. A violin pierces through the pleasant melody, drawing listeners to new heights.
That violin carries into the folksy ‘Old Habits’, weaving throughout the intermittent interludes. Fern’s country-like vocals, meanwhile, are reminiscent of the cheerful certainty of Joni Mitchell, with similarly poignant lyrics, too: “So I’ve been lookin’ / In the windows of others / Lookin’ and tryin’ to find what’s mine / Lookin’ into the windows of others / Lookin’ for that peace of mind”.
Fern’s ethereal vocals prevent ‘Myth’, a beautifully dark ballad, from getting too heavy. Distant strings that come into and out of focus are paired with swelling keys that cause the listener to slide between feelings of calm anticipation and exciting eagerness.
The keys are prominent on ‘Prairie Skies’, pulling through the warm melody. The vocals are also warmer than on other songs, lending to a full and far-away sound. Dramatic pauses and breathy harmonies also help to push the song along, like a flowing dream.
A dream that you’ll never want to wake up from. And you won’t have to: Fern’s Strange Fingertips is available for purchase at BandCamp.