At the beginning of the year I made a list of twelve bands that I thought should be on your radars for the coming year. Of those bands, I admit, some are friends that I feel are underexposed. Others were bands that I personally love, but feel they need to create a bigger fanbase before they’ll be ready for the next level of success. Fanfarlo was an exception on the list, because I honestly had no idea who they were. I chose them as a wildcard after seeing a video for a song called “Replicate” that I thoroughly enjoyed. Now it’s a couple months later, and they’ve just dropped their second album after a couple years of having songs featured on TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and in one of the Twilight movie soundtracks.
What hooked me initially with “Replicate” is the bands ease spanning different genres. One second they’re a mellow alt-folk band and they next they’re writhing in electronica ecstasy. Every time I listen to the song, the same phrase comes to my mind, “It’s like Arcade Fire remixed by Battles.” If that’s something you think you might dig, check out the video. I like the device of constant repetition on the track. I usually find that thing kind of annoying, but it works here with the music behind it.
On the third track. “Lenslife,” Fanfarlo falls victim to something alot of British bands do, and thats sound just like Razorlight (specifically “Who Needs Love”). It doesn’t last for too long, but the first verse may as well have been sung by Johnny Borrell. After the first chorus singer Simon Balthazar comes into his own again, and the song is better for it. This is an interesting tune in that it touches on the phenomenon of detachment that seems to have swept our generation. We seem, as a society, incapable of enjoying things in the moment. We’d rather not enjoy it, and take pictures and tweet about things and then look back at them fondly later. Or maybe it’s about the exact opposite of that (I don’t know, I didn’t write it.)
Rooms Filled With Light is a great demonstration of how to make an eclectic album that sounds like one fluid piece. Bands often try to do things that sound different just because they can, without taking into account how a record will sound with all these bits of odd things. Fanfarlo have done well in including horns, strings, synths, and just about everything else into an organic piece of music that is interesting and compelling as well as fun and danceable.
I may not have known it at the time, but these brits are certainly worthy of a spot on the “To Watch” list of bands. This album has actually been out for a week already, but I couldn’t get to it until today. If you’ve already purchased it, well done. If not, don’t worry-there’s still time! The band is currently touring in the states, making their way to Austin for South by Southwest next week and up to Chicago on March 28th for a show at Lincoln Hall. I plan on being there, and I hope to see all of you there as well.