Lockdown Brings These Creatures Into The Open
Faultress is the stage name of Rosi Croom, an incredibly talented and original singer songwriter. Faultress is an old-fashioned word for a female criminal, and its use as her stage name is a clear act of defiance as she stands against what males and their society see as criminal acts. In terms of her singing and songwriting, perhaps no one has stood so defiantly outside the mainstream whilst delivering such interesting and arresting songs since Kate Bush.
'Owl', the first track from the 'Creatures' EP is a medieval style tune that is delivered acapella with a beauty and power that takes your breath away. The tune reminded me of the folk songs from the Wicker Man soundtrack. It is a reflection of the loneliness of the lockdown period. When Faultress talks about seeing humans in silhouette, it really chimed with my experience of lockdown where you either watched other people walk past or you gave them a wide berth even though human contact is what you craved. We make the best of it by proclaiming ourselves to be independent, solitary and free, but at the bottom of it seems to be a regret that the rest of humanity seems to be disinterested in us.
'Bee' is a much softer, more playful song. The way that the tune flits around reminds me of the way that bees fly from flower to flower. Lyrically, it is very interesting because it seems to be saying that this person will stay around until they are noticed or required. The repeated refrain of ‘If you change your mind, I will be here’, is a plea to be noticed, but noticed by who? Could it be another person, or could it be your own way of valuing yourself? The song leaves that open, but the more I listen to it, the more I feel that this conversation is more internal than external.
'Moth' starts with the line ‘May I know your name before you destroy me’. The song continues to take issue with humans who just indiscriminately kill things that they don’t like or are in the wrong place. As a species we are only concerned with controlling nature and making it ‘nice’ to look at. The moth can also stand as a reproach to everyone who judges their fellow human beings as being worth keeping, looking at or even worth their place in life. Interestingly, of course, when we were locked down, we briefly rescinded control of nature to other creatures and they benefited hugely. If only that could continue to be the case once we emerge fully from lockdown. It is very powerful lyrically and this contrasts very well with the lightness of the tune.
'Shrew', the tune for the final track is soft and playful, although you have to keep reminding yourself that these tunes rely entirely on the virtuosity of Faultress’ voice rather than any instruments. I think that the shrew was chosen for this song because of its old-fashioned use as an insult for an argumentative woman. Faultress even starts the song by calling it a ‘contemptible shrew’. Perhaps it is an admission that in some way society is demanding that she hates part of herself. This negative view of women far from having disappeared seems, if anything, to be strengthening led by politicians and media around the world. However, she skilfully inverts this use by asking ‘Why won’t you let me back in?’, seeing this more confrontational approach as a positive part of her character. It is the part of any woman that allows her to demonstrate strength and defiance in the face of sometimes rampant misogyny. She ends up by admitting that she doesn’t always like or understand the shrew inside herself, but she does love it.
This is an absolutely stunning EP of songs. Despite being under 10 minutes long in total the songs are all fully realised, fascinating and reflect everything that is different about Faultress. If you have never listened to this talented new voice, take 10 minutes out of your day, and give 'Creatures' EP a listen. You definitely won’t regret it!