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Review | “A debut record that defines itself with individuality” Farah Elle – Fatima

The Last Mixed Tape reviews Fatima, the debut studio album from Farah Elle.

Photo by Abe Neihum

An artist’s voice is where they set themselves apart. Fatima is an intricately woven expression from rising songwriter Farah Elle. A debut record that defines itself with individuality, Fatima takes shape via a vivid tapestry of musical, rhythmic and vocal flourishes that meld into something singular. 

Fatima has a panoramic scale. Opening with the majestic ‘Silk’, the album focuses on Farah Elle’s voice from the beginning. How her vocal weaves itself into the dramatic turbulence of the music is vital. Establishing Farah Elle as both narrator and soundscape mean the two are interlinked thematically and sonically. 

Farah Elle’s Fatima has an overarching sound. Rather than a collection of disparate tracks, often the case with debuts, the record melds each song into the other. Mirroring the lush symbiotic nature of the album’s textural foundation. The closing release of ‘Howl’ gives way to the glistening opening of ‘Lunar’, while ‘Sunblock’ adds a pop flourish to proceedings with an instantly catchy motif. All are resting in the same multilayered musicality and harmony characterising Fatima, led by each rise and fall of Farah’s vocals.

‘Desert’ is Fatima’s zenith. Encapsulating all the thematic and sonic elements that play through the record, ‘Desert’ is pushed forward by what is a powerhouse vocal performance. Like in much of Fatima, the song draws its power from Farah Elle’s voice, both performatively and sonically. Add to this the introspective follow-up of ‘Laundry’, and the album resolves satisfyingly. 

And so it goes, Fatima is an outward expression by an artist whose approach to the act of self-expression is captivating in and of itself. Debut records can be a tricky prospect, sometimes retrospective and often anachronistic to who the artist is upon release. Farah Elle’s first offering maintains relevance because it feels like every note, beat and word is intrinsically linked to her artistic voice. All of which makes Fatima an attention-grabbing introduction.

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