Faith & The Muse: William Faith, Monica Richards (vocals, various instruments).
Recorded at The Eye Socket, Venice, California between October 1995 and March 1996.
Personnel: Monica Richards, William Faith (vocals); Chad Blinman (programming).
Audio Mixer: Chad Blinman.
Recording information: The Eye Socket, Venice, CA (10/1995-03/1996).
Photographer: Clovis IV.
Faith and the Muse stick with old-world traditional music for an enigmatic second album, Annwyn, Beneath the Waves. Playing with elements of neo-classical, experimental folk, and goth rock, Annwyn is vibrant with literary works spanning several centuries. Monica Richards' vocalic beauty is unreserved yet sometimes polite, but not unassuming when it comes to the music's spiritual life. Songs such as "The Silver Circle" and "Rise and Forget" blaze Richards' bold vocal textures of clinging dark visions of social interaction, and "Cernunnos," featuring William Faith, spirals with heavy gothic riffs for the album's hardest edge. Annwyn, however, does feel uneven. There overall composition isn't entirely tight regardless of Richards' vivid lyrical tales, and those too, allow a listener to get lost. It's charming, but a bit dragging. The Faith and the Muse compose something sophisticated and alluring, and Annwyn indicates the next phase of the band's career. It's a bit indulgent for a second record, similar to the abrasive Kate Bush album, The Dreaming. Monica Richards and William Faith will shape such dark ambience into something moving and inquisitive, but such grace takes time. ~ MacKenzie Wilson