Hailing from Ottawa, Canada, the darkwave duo Touched Fables, comprised of Paul Anthony and Jim Roditis, have unveiled their mesmerizing new video for “Only You Could Know.” The track is a standout from their debut album “A Thousand Goodbyes,” which evokes cold sepia tones, brooding loss, and is steeped in half-remembered nostalgia.
Paul Anthony and Jim Roditis, the masterminds behind Touched Fables, aren’t newcomers to the music scene. Despite the physical distance of a four-and-a-half-hour drive separating them, their bond remains unbreakable. Both seasoned producers, they have previously dabbled in techno and various electronic genres, releasing tracks on numerous international labels. Yet, with Touched Fables, they’ve taken a retrospective route, channeling the spirit of the ’80s. Their tracks are a harmonious blend of dusty drum machines from the era, minimal synths, and ethereal guitars.
“Only You Could Know” is a testament to their craftsmanship. The track starts with an atmospheric ambiance, soon joined by a pulsating bass synth and signature ’80s percussion. The vocals, reminiscent of the heroes of new wave pop, are haunting, complemented by post-punk guitar rhythms that perfectly echo the song’s captivating narrative.
The accompanying video is a visual treat. It opens with two women, bathed in the golden hour’s glow, standing in a serene field. As one woman turns, the scene shifts to a dance, interspersed with mesmerizing shots: ocean waves, hands caressing wheat fields, beams of light piercing through forest trees, and a mysterious fire. As the video progresses, there are shots of branches under starlight, further enhancing the ethereal atmosphere.
Watch the video for “Only You Could Know” below:
The formation of Touched Fables was catalyzed by a move halfway across a province and the death of two parents. Paul and Jim, despite the geographical distance, maintained their strong bond, talking almost daily.
As Paul Anthony reflects on their journey, “We both lost a parent in the last year, but once things settled down and Jim moved to Ottawa, it wasn’t long before we started talking about working together on something new. Any time you lose someone you love, you tend to pause and re-examine where you are in life. It felt natural to try something different.”
Stepping out of their comfort zones, the duo experimented with new roles. Roditis delved into writing synth lines, drum patterns, and playing guitar, while Anthony contributed synths, drum machine patterns, and took on vocal duties. “It was daunting at first,” admits Anthony, “But we quickly settled into our new roles and tracks were completed at a ridiculous pace. It was scary how fast and how well everything fell into place.”
Touched Fables’ debut album, “A Thousand Goodbyes,” is a poignant reflection of their teenage years. Roditis shares, “We quickly came upon the idea of writing an album we wish we could have made as teenagers, but obviously had no means to create. Tapping into those awkward years where you attempted to navigate new relationships, and often had your soul crushed.” The album, with its simple drum machines and echoes of early 1980s home studio productions, proudly wears its nostalgia.
Anthony adds, “We all have a teenage memory of a time and place when we were dealing with traumatic personal issues, while simultaneously being conscious of our own insignificance in the world. With this album, we hope to instill a sense of community within the minds of the listener. It boils down to letting people know they are not alone in their past experiences and memories.”
The duo was also mindful of the live performance aspect. “From day one, we made sure to simplify, document, and be wary of the pitfalls of playing this material live versus just having an album made from studio trickery. When we play these tracks for an audience, they will hear a wonderfully accurate representation of what you will find on the album. We’re proud of that,” says Roditis.
“A Thousand Goodbyes,” is a labor of love, filled with meticulous details and references, from its length mirroring David Sylvian’s 1984 debut solo album “Brilliant Trees” to the liner notes featuring photographs of both producers at 17 and a tribute to Anthony’s late girlfriend.
The record is brimming with references to Lords Of The New Church, David Sylvian, Ultravox, Portishead, Talk Talk, The Fixx, Gary Numan, English poet Robert Graves, as well as to the very first album Anthony ever bought, Split Enz’s “Time and Tide.” “It was important to me to return to the absolute literal starting point of my love for music.”
On creating “A Thousand Goodbyes,” Touched Fable’s Jim Roditis reflects, stating, “We quickly came upon the idea of writing an album we wish we could have made as teenagers.” As a result, the pair have succeeded in capturing the essence of early 1980s home studio productions while also crafting a timeless sound that feels both fresh and nostalgic — existing in both a dream-hue version of the past and of the future.
Touched Fables’ A Thousand Goodbyes is out now via Disown Me Recordings on CD, Cassette, and Limited Edition Blue Vinyl.
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