Selections From Lenses Of Contact

Mary Fahl

Independent release, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Every so often, one hears a voice in the world of music that is able to send shivers down your spine - and I mean that in only the best possible way. Yet these voices often are featured in groups who, for one strange reason or another, never are able to achieve full-blown success, often becoming underground stars.

Example: If I asked readers how many people have heard of Mary Fahl, how many hands would go up? Not too many, it looks like.

Example two: How many people have heard of October Project? Okay, a few more hands went up... and, Duke, raising both your hands doesn't count.

Fahl was one of the two lead singers for October Project, a group which was criminally ignored in their all-too-brief time together. Fahl's voice had the ability to bring a listener to tears, and in the next breath paste a smile on their face a mile wide. If only people had listened.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Fahl has returned, albeit as a solo artist, with Selections From Lenses Of Contact, a four-song EP which leaves me asking only one question: Where's the rest of it? While enjoyable, this is most definitely an unfinished portrait which is awaiting completion... and I would have much preferred to have had more than 15 minutes' worth of music to sink my teeth into, especially from an artist of Fahl's caliber.

Like October Project, Fahl's songs are not always the easiest to approach on several levels; however, with repeat listenings to the songs, their true beauty bursts forth and hits the listener in the heart - right where it counts. A prime example of this is "Paolo," a song whose meaning I admit I still haven't grasped, despite listening to this disc on and off for the past three months. A little easier to approach is "Redemption," a song which clearly demonstrates the absolute beauty of Fahl's voice.

The two standouts on Selections From Lenses Of Contact are "Redemption" and "Meant To Say," the latter bringing back wonderful memories of October Project's self-titled debut disc. Simply trying to place a label on works like these fails to do them any justice - and, in a sense, trying to describe the ethereal power that Fahl has in her delivery in mere words falls short. In sum, listen to these two tracks and become a believer.

Yet the brevity of this disc ends up hurting Fahl; the opening track "Raging Child" just feels like it needed much more development in order to become something noteworthy. As it is, the song sounds like a work very much in progress. And, it's sad to say, Fahl finds herself fighting uphill for the rest of the disc to overcome this initial letdown. By the time the disc wraps up with "Redemption," she's finally gotten the ball to swing in her direction, and she could have turned this disc into an absolute tour-de-force... if only it didn't end after the fourth song.

Make no mistake, I'd rather have four songs from Fahl than none, and Selections From Lenses Of Contact is a nice way for Fahl to tell people she's still out there, as powerful as ever vocally. But I'm sincerely hoping that, in the near future, I'll be writing a review on Lenses Of Contact, and not just talking about four Selections.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.