[Reviewed by vitriol]
All My Faith Lost is an Italian ethereal neoclassical project that has been around since 1999 – their first release being the short-length “Hollow Hills” in 2000. They spent a moon in CMI where they released the critically acclaimed “As You’re Vanishing In Silence” and “The Hours”. Many of their other releases are self-published, and it has always been my impression that their brand of elegant, unaffected, low-key neoclassical deserves more recognition than that which it presently enjoys. Their beautiful, deeply melancholic compositions, skilled executions, harmonious vocal duets and most of all, their abundant influences from folklore and classic literature make them very special and endearing to me. Not something you listen to casually, for sure, but the type of thing you save for these occasions when you really want to savour the luxury of sadness, or find yourself in a generally ponderous mood.
In this album they commemorate the work of darkwave legends Black Tape For A Blue Girl by covering six songs from some of their best recordings. It seems like a match made in heaven. On the one hand you have Black Tape For A Blue Girl with their poetic lyrics, analog synth sequences, male and female vocal combinations, wandering melodies and overall dreamy dejection. On the other hand you have All My Faith Lost with their ability to accentuate a good tune, their natural penchant to melancholy and their self-confessed love for poetry. Their music has always had a touch of starstruck, eerie darkwave quality in it, even though we would be amiss if we tried to firmly attach such a label to it. Think Mazzy Star and Cranes, but not of course in terms of genre. The result in any case, is that they seem to be quite at home covering these particular songs.
It is obvious that a lot of thought and care has gone into this release, and that the band were driven by admiration for the originals. The songs are derived from Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s 90s period, and may have also been chosen for the fact that they carry a lot of melodic potential; they contain parts that can be nicely brought to the foreground using classical instruments. “Redefine My Pure Faith”, the track chosen as the album’s opening, is in my opinion one of Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s best songs, and Federico’s vocals do it full justice. “The Broken Glass”, that contains a lot of atmospheric synth passages and simultaneous vocals in the original, is stripped to acoustic guitar, strings and male vocals in All My Faith Lost’s version. This also applies in the case of “Russia”, that is much shorter than the original but one of the tracks that really stand out in the album, with Viola’s vocals, the acoustic guitar and the violin in perfect harmony throughout.
The truth is that this entire recording is a little gem of ethereal neoclassical perfection. It will appeal to fans of both projects, as All My Faith Lost respect the original material but they don’t fear it. This isn’t a bland reproduction of catchy underground ‘hits’ or a collection of uninspired, technical renditions. Each track bears their own characteristic musical mark, but is also invested with love and inspiration. A pleasant and very welcoming surprise, and a great opportunity to become acquainted or re-acquainted with this material.