When you have spent the last two years building up a musical identity, have been well received both by audiences and media and have managed to find a group of musicians to work with who bring exactly what is needed to your songs, why would you suddenly head off down a new musical path. Well, I guess some musicians are braver than others, whilst some are happy to wander the road that leads to safe mediocrity a path they seem destined to follow for the rest of their musical careers, others have visions and seem driven to head off into uncharted territory to realise them. Faye Rogers is on that latter journey.
Having made a name for herself as a sweet pastoral acoustic troubadour, this first release, a teaser for a planned future record has, in my eyes, already eclipsed everything that has gone before. A glimpse of her new sound was presented at a recent live show and although still a bit rough around the edges it raised a whole set of questions not to mention a few eyebrows. Those questions that have now been more than answered by Night Visions.
Drawing a line under what has gone before, writing a whole new set and even rebranding the band White Lilac to obscure that past in a wonderfully “year zero” fashion, her true calling seems to have revealed itself. Chiming electric guitars replace the acoustic strum of before and her voice suddenly seems framed by exactly the right musical surroundings. Cymbals wash in the distance and as a brooding cello helps build the atmospherics you find that where her music was filled with fading summer light and a warm breeze, now there is a moonlit ethereality, a gothic beauty and a spine-tingling expectation. Then the secret weapon is brought into play and a sonorous and sensual saxophone drifts by before the band rock out to a glistening crescendo.
This is not only the bravest musical re-invention I have come across in a long while, also on the strength of this first release White Lilac are a band who I am anticipating great things from.