- Reviewed by John Price
- Published on May 9th, 2011 at 5:00p.m.
I love this album. It's a bright, breezy, almost tropical summer album. It's got the fast paced songs, the slower more atmospheric songs, and the weirdly catchy songs. In other words, the perfect Friendly Fires album.
It's still distinctly Friendly Fires sounding. They've not changed their style too much (which is a good thing). If you're not familiar with their sound, imagine really atmospheric vocals (partly thanks to some nice echo effects), pounding percussion and funky basslines, topped off with a dance vibe. They're very upbeat, 'friendly' (har, har) sounding tracks.
While no band can claim to please everybody with their second album, I think I can safely say that Friendly Fires have definitely not disappointed anybody. Live Those Days Tonight, the album's kickstarter, is a brilliant introduction to the band. It's anthemic; the sort of song you imagine would go down really well at a festival. If you like this track, chances are you'll love the rest of the album.
With Pala, you get the feeling that they're emphasising the dancey, synthy elements of their music more, and it works quite well most of the time. Blue Cassette benefits from this new approach, with it's droning background producing a very 'epic' sound to the song. It's a similar thing with Chimes.
I think overall it's a much more funky album. It's like their first album, in that it's filled with catchy, oftentimes infectiously so, songs, but it's also had a thick layer of bassy funk smeared all over it for good measure. And even though that sounds like it shouldn't work, it does. With all that funky goodness comes the tropical vibe. There aren't any steel drums, but somehow the album is bestowed with a nice caribbean sound too. I guess that's why it sounds like such a good summery album.
Listen to the entire album via The Hype Machine here: