Hopeful & Hopeless (ep)
Reb Fountain released some music under her name – and then a decade or so has gone by. During that time she’s become a mother, a worker – in and around performing and playing. And, musically, she’s helped out so many people, as harmony vocalist, via guest appearances, as a regular band member. Whether hired help or just wandering on to join in, her voice, her spirit, her energy, all unmistakeable, all uniquely her own, all crucial to any project. Over recent years I’ve seen her own the stage as a backing singer – but never in a look at me way. I’ve seen her called in at the last minute, and I’ve watched her working with her musical buddies of many years.
When she finally returned to releasing new music it was the one-two of this EP and then a new full-lengther that followed swiftly after.
The Hopeful & Hopeless EP is a very special release, not just because it’s the first time hearing Fountain as leader in many years. It’s also the final recordings of the hugely talented Sam Prebble (aka Bond Street Bridge). Sam and Reb and Dylan Storey were a tight gang, working on each other’s music across many years. Some of these songs were performed by Fountain and Prebble across the years. Here in a series of performances captured a few years back at The Wine Cellar the band (“The Bandits”) features Dave Khan, Brenda Turner, Cole Goodley and Prebble, Fountain and Storey.
It’s a gorgeous set of torch ballads (the title track is a shining example after the lovely, loping opener, The Truth About Us) with occasional forays into something a bit rockier, even a blast of country-hued punk here and there (Gold has a type of Patti Smith evocation about it).
Now if I’m seeming late to this, I’m just late writing about it. It’s an EP I’ve preferred to keep for myself, playing it regularly across the last six months or so. I also talked about it during one of last year’s RNZ live-to-air reviews. And I guess that was all I needed to say back then. But I wanted to mention it here for anyone that hasn’t taken the plunge yet, or didn’t know about it. This is such a perfect jewel of songs, five tracks, not a dud, a shining example of the EP, bringing with it some sadness in conjuring the memory of Sam Prebble, offering huge heart as well. That of course is all summed up in the EP’s title.