Chicago-born shoegaze group Fauvely roll back the distortion on Beautiful Places | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Chicago-born shoegaze group Fauvely roll back the distortion on Beautiful Places


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Fauvely front woman Sophie Brochu has built a creative life working with the warm, distorted tones of shoegaze; for much of the 2010s, she explored the style’s indie-pop possibilities in Chicago five-piece Videotape, and she’s helped push amps to their breaking points as part of the live lineup for Scott Cortez’s wall-of-sound project Astrobrite. Brochu launched Fauvely as a solo outlet in 2017, but she’s since turned it into a full-fledged band with the addition of guitarist-keyboardist Dale Price, drummer Dave Piscotti, and bassist Phil Conklin. The musicians recorded their new self-released debut full-length, Beautiful Places, last summer at Jamdek, and as they recently told Chicago Crowd Surfer, that fall Brochu and her husband relocated to her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, because the pandemic had crushed their plans to open a restaurant in Chicago. The couple’s move is temporary, though, and the band plan to stay together till they return. On Beautiful Places, Fauvely recall the romance of classic doo-wop and the relaxed confidence of slacker college rock—Brochu and company tamp down the saturating shoegaze atmospherics till there’s only just enough gauzy majesty to tease out every song’s dreamy potential. On “Haunts Me,” they begin with a drifting melody that sounds like it could dissolve at a moment’s notice, then transform it into a headstrong ballad, helped along by Brochu’s performance—she intensifies her tender voice to deliver steely, serrated lines, singing about lingering hardships from her past with a resolve that suggests she’s on a better path now.   v

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