By Maggie Shui
When Reb Fountain sings “when gods lie”, who are the gods she is talking about?
It’s a lyric that suggests a crisis of faith, like a coming-of-age story where our protagonist begins to doubt the organised religion they were brought up in.
But the god in the latest single (featuring Finn Andrews of The Veils) from Reb Fountain’s upcoming self-titled album is really a stand-in for whatever entity we trust and abide by. You can put your faith in free-market economics, or the need to get a Bachelor’s degree, or a romantic partner or beloved celebrity.
But sometimes these pillars that we, consciously or not, lean on will collapse a little.
Re: spoke to Reb about the launch of her latest work, and she tells us how she grappled with these moments of collapse. “What do I do with this information? What do I do with feeling so lost and like I trusted that someone would be there and they're not, whether that's because they've passed away or because they decided they didn't want to be with me?”
In the stunning chorus, Reb repeats the titular line backed by vocals that sound like they were recorded in a cathedral. It straddles the line between anthemic and mournful. There’s sadness in realising you’ve been worshipping a false god, but there’s empowerment in recognising your own complicity in creating them.
“It's not just an exterior God in that sense,” says Reb. “It's when we fail to acknowledge our part, as well.” Reb references moments such as Harvey Weinstein’s spectacular downfall. It’s a moment where our “trust has been completely shattered” - in this case, we were confronted with the truth of how sexual assault is embedded within the machinations of Hollywood. But, Reb says, we “also placed the trust in this fictional world as well.” With our idolisation of Hollywood and our wallets, we give people like Harvey Weinstein power. Of course, recognising this means we can also take it away.
In the music video, directed by Lola Fountain-Best and shot in mesmerising black and white Super 8mm film, Reb and her band’s drummer Earl Robertson sway and dance in fields of tall grass and bush. If you’d like to know the location of this summery spot, Reb told us the video was, “filmed in another dimension”.
Throughout the video, Reb and Earl alternate between wearing and shedding masks designed by Gabi Maffey and Kalvin Fountain-Best that Reb describes as “part human, part fantasy”. It’s all about the agency to choose the masks you wear, the roles you perform, the stories you tell yourself and allow to be projected onto you. In Reb’s words, “You can fuck with that.”
“I had eating disorders when I was young, and you tell yourself that no one likes you, everybody hates you, it’s because you're fat or the wrong size or whatever. And that's a lie.
“It's really up to me to dismantle those stories and that fills me with confidence.”
Reb Fountain’s self-titled album comes out 1st May, 2020.
See dates and tickets for Reb Fountain’s nationwide album release tour here.