Music

Meet Reb Fountain, who just released one of New Zealand’s albums of the year

Reb Fountain has been a name bearing weight in New Zealand for some time, but it’s her recent self-titled album with Flying Nun Records that sees the artist elevate herself to another realm entirely.

Recorded over a three-week stint at Neil Finn’s Roundhead StudiosReb Fountain drips with intent and quiet passion.

reb fountain frances carter
Photo: Frances Carter

Quietly confident and effortlessly stylish, Reb Fountain’s self-titled album is one of New Zealand’s most essential records of the year so far.

The record’s cast of personnel speaks to the promise behind it, an assemblage of the country’s most name-dropped producers, engineers, and collaborators. Speaking to NZ Herald two weeks ago, Fountain shared:

“I woke up one morning and knew I wanted to make a record and for Dave Khan to produce it. Dave and I have played music together for years but collaborating with him as producer was part of a deliberate, considered approach to the record as a whole.”

“Dave is an ideas man, a stalwart musical director and accomplished musician. His production guidance along with the support of NZ’s head engineer/producer Simon Gooding meant that my songs had space to flourish within the music.”

Combine that with the guest appearances on the record – Finn Andrews of The Veils and Elroy Finn, son of Neil – and you’ll begin to understand the immense talent breathing between the seams of Reb Fountain. The result is an album that feels subdued yet monumentally powerful, tied with threads of folk, alt-country, and indie. Naming it by one sound or genre would be superfluous.

Don’t You Know Who I Am, the final single released before the album, is a particular highlight which comes alongside an incredible video. The clip films three people as they shave their heads for Shave For A Cure NZ, playing into the song’s themes of identity and standing for what you believe is right.

The entirety of the album is hemmed by these precise emotional moments, delivered with clarity by Fountain’s wavering vocal. The melodies are beautiful if at times unconventional, and the instrumental choices complement each story effortlessly – from the determined piano chords on When Gods Lie to the close-mic’d strumming of Faster. 

Reb Fountain is the work of an artist completely sure of themselves, realised with pure intent. Don’t sleep on one of New Zealand’s records of the year.

 

Reb Fountain is out now via Flying Nun Records. Grab your copy on vinyl here.