Farao (Photo by Kristin Slotterøy)
On her debut album Till It’s All Forgotten, Farao sings the song “Bodies” in a haunting manner over layered instrumentation that sometimes sounds like a train gaining speed. Lyrically, the song about trust, or the lack thereof, in a relationship, and the churning music adds some punch to the words.
In live performance, the native Norwegian herself gravitates toward acoustic instruments, leaving her synths to a touring bandmate. The result is much less urgent, giving the lyrics more room to breathe. In so doing, Farao, born Kari Jahnsen, emphasizes the mesmerizing quality of her voice.
Farao treated a half-full room to such a delivery at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday night, touring in support of Till It’s All Forgotten, which was released earlier this month, as the opening act for UK punk trio The Cribs.
Watch Farao perform “Bodies” for Le Bruit des Graviers on Sept. 4, 2015:
On the album, another song — “Fragments” — starts out almost like a chiptune but then blossoms into layers of instruments and voice as Farao paces herself alongside the music. Singing in almost a hushed nursery rhyme style, she uses repetition of words to mirror what is happening instrumentally to pleasing effect. The song is about not being able to see the full picture with its refrain “If you don’t believe me, no one will.”
It’s also a song ready-made for performance as its appealing structure translates well to the stage.
Watch Farao play “Fragments” live at Træna Festival 2014, published July 16 2014:
Although Farao plays many different instruments, seeing her live is truly the best opportunity to listen to her voice, which she uses to good effect in concert.
Up until last night, Farao was touring at the opening act for The Cribs. Now, she has three more dates in the United States without them — tonight in Portsmouth, NH, and Tuesday in Los Angeles and Wednesday in San Francisco. She’s a worthy opener and well worth contemplating if she happens to perform solo.