The coming together of two artists, previously working on their own projects and suddenly flung together into a recording studio, can easily become a clash of egos a battleground over direction and a doomed attempt to merge two styles that end up in a disastrous finale of furore and farce. So, to see two talented Portland musicians get together under the name Tu Fawning strikes both fear and excitement into the depths of my musical mind. Tu Fawning is a Portland scene baby, the creation of Joe Haege of skewed math rock act 31Knots and folkstress singer-songwriter Corrina Repp. Joined now by Lisa Rietz and Toussaint Perrault, the band have created Hearts on Hold, a record that resounds with a subdued booming tone and a stack of exquisitely engineered percussion. This could get terrifying.

And it sort of does get terrifying, with an All Hallows Eve focus on that term, as spectral sonic sauntering meets melodically malevolent musings through the eyes and ears of a quartet of ominously accomplished music makers. 'Multiply A House' uses a pounding, tribal sensibility alongside a warped, royal horn droning alongside cascading vocals to project an otherworldly melancholy, introducing us to the world of Tu Fawning, presenting them as an act who warp that sound-you-think-you-know into something alien, abstruse and, for the most part, all-alluring. The vocal pairing of our two intrepid founders is a wondrous surprise, with the folksy fluttering force of Repp combining rather effortlessly with the low, tense tremble of Haege. 'Apples and Oranges' provides an oddly orchestral stab at a duet, showcasing the vexing vocal compatibility (although the track itself falls into duller territory after five minutes of plaintive piano plodding). Instrumental exploration and experimentation is key to a what makes and breaks a number of tracks on 'Hearts on Hold', with dashes of violin, lamenting sweeping horns and a veritable deluge of percussion adding an astounding aura and tipping the scales too far in equal measure.

The records weakness lies in the likes of 'Just Too Much', which piles on, well, just too much into the certain segments, stretching out a multitude of sounds past their proverbial sell by date. Still, the quality of creepiness that pervades the music of Tu Fawning, from the aged sampling and blunt punch of 'I Know You Now' to the call-and-response stab, lurking and squirming its way through a soundtrack of sudden phonic fears, of 'Lonely Nights', ensures a record that will quite literally haunt you long after a listen. The power of this production lies with the pure potential of such sound and sentiment residing behind in the corners of your mind long after the moans, bangs and groans have ebbed away into silence.

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