A story of murder, racism, and grief frames The Faun, the full-length debut from Durham's Greaver. Dotted with spacious interludes and spoken-word passages from a protagonist named Morgan, The Faun fully embraces both the album's conceptual conceit and its own emo revivalism. Audacity aside, The Faun's greatest strength might be Greaver's earnestness.
Greaver's members collectively take on the role of Leon, the Faun whose ghost guides Morgan's decisions as the story develops. Through complex post-hardcore arrangements and screamed vocals, the songs meditate on grief and vengeance.
During "Grief Seeds," sore-throated screaming recalls the tightly wound fury of modern emo acts like Touché Amoré. Rather than stick strictly to the molds that Touché Amoré and Pianos Become The Teeth used to spark new interest in emo, though, Greaver embraces a welcome, broader range of influences that only underscore the band's compositional and conceptual ambitions. "A Poisoned Well" goes full-on prog, with guitars flying in spirals so tight they seem like aerial stunts. The gang-vocal interlude of "Southfield" feels like the invocation of a pummeling mosh pit, but the song spreads suddenly into a wiry tangle of melodic post-rock. Close call-and-response vocals and intricate guitar interplay serve as anchors, whether Greaver is blasting through a furious vamp or stretching out for an instrumental séance.
None of these elements are necessarily novel, but Greaver's synthesis of them is seamless. The Faun often feels like a familiar entry in a growing post-hardcore canon. And with it, Greaver has demonstrated not only the ability to develop and execute a narrative but to shade classic emo tropes of loss and betrayal with high drama and social commentary.