We review the new album from Ana Silvera – The Fabulist

With a heavy emphasis on storytelling, a folk style, and various multi-instrumental tracks, The Fabulist is an exploration of Silvera’s experiences and craving to tell stories through her music. 

Halos is a delicate and gentle track that is full of delicate sounds and an intense atmosphere setting feel. With the usage of acoustic guitar, violin, cello, flutes, drums, and of course Silvera’s angelic vocals. With clever usage of the instrumental backing track, and the slow tempo, Halos pushes a strong musical emphasis throughout. With long breaks where no vocals are present, it gives the instruments a moment to shine and synchronise to a pseudo boiling point. At this point the track explodes into an array of sounds, picking up the tempo just slightly so as to signal the apex of the song. 

Sink or Swim takes a more simplistic approach, this time with an acoustic guitar taking the forefront of the song. It carries the vocals amazingly, well and beautifully couples with the melancholic lyrics. Naturally, the track builds and blooms into a much grander piece that carries the feeling of a fairy tale style story. 

Early Frost is the next track, this time featuring Los Angeles based singer songwriter, Alan Hampton. It’s a love story gone wrong, with lyrics of two people who build a home together, only for it all to collapse in the end. With a wholesome country vibe as guitars pluck away gently. The violins that begin to cry a sadly beautiful tune are what give away the tragedy of the song and are moving in a way that is difficult to describe. 

The next track, Ghosts, is yet another heartbreaker of a song. Drawing from a personal experience of Silvera’s with a close family member suffering psychosis. The metaphorical ghosts are ones that live in the heads of those suffering with their mental health, and it’s here where Ghosts grounds itself in reality. With slightly off sounding guitars, it’s a brutal song that is softened by the gentle folk delivery of the song. And yet within the gentleness, the heartbreak truly sets in, with the soft delivery off setting the dark message the song displays. 

Red Balloon is once again another guitar led ballad, this time utilising cellos to accentuate a much more atmospheric piece. As the track builds more and more, drums, cymbal crashes, bass guitar, backing vocals, and gongs all join into the fray. Red Balloon tells an adventurous story as someone travels from the country to the city, a story of freedom and the longing to roam. 

Queen of Swords opening is almost a cappella, with only an occasional strum of music joining the vocals. And it’s a true showcase of Silvera’s vocal prowess, as she holds some of the gentlest notes whilst also keeping the listener gripped with how resonant it is. Something that stirs an emotion in even the hardest of hearts. As a whole, Queen of Swords once again brings onboard a plethora of instruments to back up the stellar vocals. 

Point Mirabeau is once again another beautiful ballad, and somehow manages to continue the beautiful tugging of the heartstrings. This time Silvera effortlessly incorporates French lyrics into the performance, and despite not understanding the language, the lyrics remain beautiful and moving. It’s a showcase of how absolutely powerful her vocal presence is and how much talent she has to showcase. 

Megellan is similar to Point Mirabeau and feels almost like a companion piece the prior track. With a slightly more up tempo, and guitars that hit some of the highest notes going, it brings a very country influence this time. It’s a breathtaking love song that tells a much more hopeful love story than that of Early Frost to start with. The high flying guitars that are later accompanied by chimes give way to a heartbreaking second half that delivers a gut punch ending that is wholly unexpected and may bring some to tears. 

The closing track, Hyperballad is eerily grim compared to its contemporaries. With piano in the place that has been reserved for the guitars thus far, it immediately sets a darker tone. Weaving in cello and violin alongside the piano gives a haunting feel that’s been cleverly kept for the final track. It’s the most moody and touching piece on the album and serves to drive home the darker themes of the album as a whole. Closing with deep notes that leave a lasting impact on the listener and leave an eerie quiet as the final seconds linger. 

On the whole, The Fabulist is an album filled with stories to tell. One that is filled with emotion, from the beautiful instrumental performances of a variety of renowned folk musicians, right down to the vocals that act as the emotional grounding point. There’s a very clear style throughout and it continually pushes the envelope of how much it can make you feel and what emotions it can dig up from the audience. It’s a fantastic showcase of Silvera’s talent, and one that will no doubt be the one for future projects to beat. 


MAY 4 WED – Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-sea
MAY 5 THU – The Anvil, Basingstoke
MAY 6 FRI – Friends’ Meeting House, Oxford
MAY 7 SAT – The Met, Bury
MAY 8 SUN – Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
MAY 10 TUE – J2, Cambridge Junction, Cambridge
MAY 11 WED – Reading Town Hall, Reading
MAY 12 THU – St. George’s Bristol, Bristol
MAY 13 FRI – Colchester Arts Centre, Colchester
MAY 14 SAT – Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh
MAY 19 THU – Bush Hall, London

Tickets via https://www.anasilvera.com/tour