alternative dark folk folk Folktronica Horror Folk review singer songwriter

Augustine – Neither Nightmares nor Dreams Come True Review

Haunted folk that balances gothic sensibilities with moments of dreamlike triumph.

What does Augustine sound like?

The review of Augustine – Neither Nightmares nor Dreams Come True

Mireille M.Fiset goes by the moniker of Augustine and on her new album she creates dark intimate folk. With ‘Neither Nightmares nor Dreams Come True’ you get a real sense of gothic fear balances with a beautiful honesty at the same time. Life is muddy and dreams are often crystalline. Augustine balances both and that melting pot gives this album a twinkling walking dead folk feel that I really enjoyed.

The album opens with ‘Slow Train’ which is the dirgiest track on the album. The thick strings and guitars sell a dilapidated and tired chug. It sounds southern and dense with a suffocating atmosphere that Mireille’s voice hides behind rather than taking centre stage. I could imagine it as a soundtrack to a post-apocalypse movie and it sets the tone for that walking numb vibe. Each track tackles it differently which is what makes Augustine’s overall tone not feel so claustrophobic.

photo of Augustine

‘Silence’ is a gothic piano-led track that is part dreamlike, part nightmare. The piano is delicately played and sounds beautiful on its own but the strings slowly twist and bend offkey like a thriller movie. It’s a superb track that ends in a flurry of odd percussion to bring us to the hidden instrument of the album – the marxophone. The marxophone is like a cross between a zither and a hammered dulcimer as you hit hammer keys onto zither strings. Its first appearance is on the bouncy “The Wish” which leads with it. There’s a playful circus undertone, like an autoharp on a bouncy castle. It is a cute piece that adds some pace and verticality to the album.

Where Augustine really excels is in her disarmingly emotive folk with a hint of horror though. ‘To The Victim’ is a superb track that leans into that dark folk vibe with a soft soothing choral ‘ooh’ for its main refrain. The verses don’t change chords often but the piano, guitar, marxophone and synths all ripple like shimmering visions around the vocals. It is captivating and shows that minimalism doesn’t have to be boring. ‘Sleep’ reminds me of an acoustic Amanda Palmer. The rousing piano waltzes away with a cabaret sway and the backing vocal troupe and organs only add to that mood.

My favourite track on the album is where Augustine brings in some electronic elements too. ‘Unhomey Home’ starts off as a vulnerable piano and vocal ballad. After curious waning strings back up the first half everything transitions to a whisper as Augustine goes full Nina Nastasia crossed with PJ Harvey circa 1998. In comes drums, haunted strings, and pulsating synths. Augustine simply whispers about being without a true home underneath it all for the second half of the track. It is inspired and a true standout. The album closes out with the dreamy folktronica of ‘Th​é​r​è​se’ which brings in aural organs, dreamy guitars and distant drums. The whole thing sounds like a vaseline smear of heaven across your ears in the best possible way. It’s as if we are ending on a positive dream but there are plenty of minor chords to ensure we haven’t quite grabbed every dream either.

‘Neither Nightmares nor Dreams Come True’ is one of those albums that will grow a cult following over time. In its naked forms, Augustine is captivating. Her voice is dry and a little hoarse like it’s desperate for breath and life. When all the dreamy instrumentation comes in, along with layers of backing vocals though, there’s an air of angelic beauty to things. The album is constantly mixing and matching the two sides and showing the horror and calm in both. It may take a few listens to settle in, but Augustine’s work is one that will keep on giving.

Recommended track: To The Victim

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Augustine - Neither Nightmares nor Dreams Come True



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