17 March 2014
Fanfarlo - Let's Go Extinct
Fanfarlo are a band I have stumbled onto upon accident. The main man behind the project is Swedish national Simon Balthazar, but the band is based in London. The sound of the band itself is best described as Power Pop and the band have natural colleagues such as Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Little Comets, Toxic Melons, Polyphonic Spree and Vampire Weekend. The cover is a striking image from the vantage point of an astronaut in space seeing a dove fly past in the middle of the void we call the cosmos. Now I really do not have much to say about this band in regards to their past, if I did it would be a rip of the Wikipedia page about them and you can head over there yourself if you wish. What I can tell you is this is their third studio album, which comes after last year's EP release called The Sea. This album is also loosely based on a concept about how bizarre the notation of being is and how even more bizarre the notion of other beings is.
Starting off with a bizarre vocal mash and guitar tone of "Life In The Sky", the song morphs into a joyful ode to the strange state of humanity. It is a brilliant tune which takes you away and has a beautiful energy. It is a slow build toward the euphoric moments of the song and the band seem to be on top of their game. Next is "Cell Song" which was the first number I heard by them. It starts with the haunting keyboards and a saxophone that gives way to the surf-esque guitar tone and talks about how things grow on this planet and how it is strange. It is a beautifully broken piece of music that keeps the audience enthralled to the end. If this had have been released back in the 70's it would have been a massive radio hit (and hopefully it will be sometimes in the future). "Myth Of Myself (A Ruse To Exploit Our Weakness)" is about the sense of self and how strange it is to be here. It does not quite match the opening two numbers, but it is still absorbing and well played. "A Distance" is harking back to a different age when music was a lot simpler, it is strange as it seems to have a mind to the future and for some reasons it is clothed in shades of musical past. It is a great tune again, but I find myself more distracted on this one with sound that remind me of a certain band or period in my past; very strange to feel this from a 2014 release.
"A Distance" flows straight into "We're The Future", a much slower number that takes about how the world is just copies of the past moving forward to create more copies. For a band that feel more retro as the album goes forward, that seems like a post-ironic statement, but the song is a glorious gem of a song which has that sonic sound of the 70's pop rock. "Landlocked" made me laugh out loud when I first heard it, the beginning it just that shade too cheerful and make the band sound like they wish to be a more poppy Arcade Fire. If anything it is not until the chorus that this song redeems itself, but it is a bizarre hybrid number that I am still not sure if I think it is insane or just genius by accident. "Painting With Life" starts with a haunting vocal and sound of wind before the toy keyboard sound kick in with the horns and string section join in as well. It is a little more introverted that the other songs, but it works for me as it is a slight change to the last few numbers and feels natural.
"The Grey & The Gold" is an old school rock power pop song with a horn and percussion section that intrigues me, again talking about the state of the world and I am not too sure what this song is about. The more I listen to it, the more theories I have complied in my head. At the moment I am up to 15 different stories behind this song and climbing. I love enigmas in pop music and this one is a charming number to boot as well. "The Beginning And The End" is next with another piece of the more slow and stately side of power pop. It does not need to grab you straight away, but it does have hooks that with aim for your musical soul. Ending the album is the title track "Let's Go Extinct" which talks about how brief creation is in the grand scheme of things. It is not the best song on off here, but it is well played.
I find myself getting lost in this music in a more retro way in places and forgetting that it was released this year. It automatically feels timeless, I am not sure that is the best thing in a way but it still a charming album for the most part. Whilst it does have a timeless feel about it, it does not have a presence that does not quite sit right with the music. There is something that makes the album both a joy and untrustworthy; I found myself not in love with it, but not hating it either. It is well played, but I have heard this sort of thing done with more passion and flare as well; there is more here on offer and I am sure it is a grower, but by the end of the record I was just wanting to listen to the few numbers again and forgetting some of the later ones. A good album, but no more than good.
7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check
Top Track - The Grey & The Gold
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit the Fanfarlo website here
Here is a link to Deezer to listen to the album
Or if you’re a Spotify user, here is a link for you
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