"Realm" was preceded by an anthem-oriented EP that dusted off the Prime Movers' final single as if it was honouring an unfulfilled prophecy to pick up that lost thread and re-establish it here and now, but on a bigger and brighter mission than ever before. While "Realm" certainly stands on it's own, "We Live To Shine" is effectively the pre-title sequence, and does add shape to the idea that there is something deliberate and profound going on here.
Each time I break out "Realm" for review I get so caught up in the feeling of it that I lose the task at hand. I've had a crush on Fay's songwriter-Driscoll-meets-Bowie vocal style ever since the Prime Mover's "Earth Church". There was always this kind of suppressed guilt in my feeling that they had achieved something more than The Prisoners..."that" in no small part was due to Fay Hallam...many will disagree, but now I'm guilt-free. As James Taylor did with "Message From The Godfather", we all make fantastic leaps forward in our own mysterious good 'ol time.
And here it is Fay's turn. "Realm" really is one of those untouchable albums within the canon of a musician (think "Led Zeppelin IV"). Transcendental for the fan who has thus far played along casually and will find his own expectations left in the dust. I imagine that Fay will do something grander in the future, but it seems unlikely that it will be as dramatically propelled forward as this. "Realm" is the beginning of a new Fay Hallam, perhaps a legend even, and undoubtedly has sidestepped the "more of the same" establishment.
© Kahlil Breithaupt for Hammondbeat 2007