16 March 2012

Ladies and gentlemen we are in Hackney

On Monday I will mostly be watching Spiritualized (which I always find very hard to type).

7 March 2012

The return of Orbital

Very excited about Wonky, the first album in a while by Orbital. This is New France:

2 March 2012

Album Review: Fanfarlo - Rooms Filled With Light

Who are Fanfarlo? In 2006 they were a duo - Simon Balthazar and Giles J Davis - but the lineup has changed several times since. Davis left and Balthazar went on to accumulate a talented bunch of multi-instrumentalists for Reservoir, the band's self-released 2009 debut. Three years later they’re back with Rooms Filled With Light, which is part post-punk, part indie-pop, part almost everything, but is mostly incredibly enjoyable.

There’s a sense throughout the album that the band had big smiles on their faces recording these expansive, layered soundscapes. It begins with the urgent Replicate, alternating between spiky strings and keyboard sections and an insistent, more lyrical chorus. Deconstruction is earnest pop inspired by A-ha or the Human League, and it’s hard not to like the optimistic lyrics “it comes together again somehow”. Lenslife threatens to become something Belle and Sebastian would dismiss as too twee but it’s rescued by the punchy chorus. The track ends unexpectedly with languid sliding violin work by Cathy Lucas.

Fanfarlo are perhaps anxious not to appear too clever - despite tracks titled Replicate and Tunguska (referencing a meteoroid strike in Siberia). They give the game away halfway through the album on the short instrumental Everything Turns, a mesmerising piano and glockenspiel composition in the same vein as math-rockers Battles.

The sunshine peaks on Tightrope, a busy collage of playful harp runs, trumpet breaks, upbeat vocals, and then, in case you thought things were getting boring, an apocalyptic burst of orchestral chaos that could have been heard on A Day in the Life. Feathers has a similarly upbeat carnival atmosphere. Straight after comes Bones, a breather after the frenzy of the previous tracks. Here, as well as on the religious A Flood, there is more generous exposure for Baltazar’s vocals in the style of The Killers’ Brandon Flowers.

The songs here are catchy enough to provide instant enjoyment and the deployment of so many instruments means there are further delights to be found on repeated listening - Rooms Filled With Light is a fantastic combination of beauty and brains.

Originally published at Dale & Co.