Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow
From the Forest Came the Fire (Modern Outsider)
Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., April 8, 2016
While Dana Falconberry's stunning 2012 LP Leelanau sounded like the last day of summer camp, follow-up From the Forest Came the Fire arrives as a moonlight walk through the woods with a backpack full of crystals. Consider it a conceptual step for the Austin songwriter, who boasts a voice like a bird call and a lyrical knack for interweaving pastoral observations with real emotion and the metaphysical magic of nature. "If my bones are branches/ Be them snarled and swayed/ You can gather me like kindling/ I will not be afraid," Falconberry whispers in "Alamogordo," stoking a blue flame forest fire of bravery and mortality. Accompanying Falconberry's supernatural quest is a sonic transition from rustic chamber pop to avant-garde indie folk. Gorgeous single "Cormorant," which melodically jumps like crickets and lights like fireflies, stands as an outlier to an overall solemn tone. It's a sound that finds enchantment on spiritual rebirth "Dolomite," but becomes monotonous as the disc progresses into a slower second half that wears thin as progressively less enchanted trio "Oxheart," "Leona," and "Powerlines" kill time until "Alamogordo." Brilliant lyricism doesn't make up for the fact that darkness isn't Dana Falconberry's forte.