Tuesday 22 October 2013

Fanfarlo - The Sea EP

EP review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

When you've spent two albums producing some of the most interesting baroque indie-folk orchestration that the alternative music world has seen in recent years, just where do you go next? More of the same? Perhaps not the best idea since so many others are attempting similar music, diluting the market. Plus there's no better way for a band to show their quality by a little classy variation. With Anglo-Swedish group Fanfarlo you know not to expect the mundane or the obvious. Following their second album, the band have spent their time planning, and executing, their next move. Gently easing themselves back into public consciousness with free download 'Myth Of Myself (A Ruse To Exploit Our Weaknesses)' in the summer, they now have launched the first part of a whole new chapter of their existence. 'The Sea' EP is the first part of their exploration into humanity's past and future; a science fiction/utopian concept project. Sound heavy going? Quite the contrary. Sure, the lyrics here could be picked apart and dissected and we could spend hours reading between the lines for hidden meanings (an example being cleaning the pollution of all kinds, not just to the natural world, that the human race has created), but a lengthy essay on their message is probably best saved until the project is complete, plus they go into much more detail on their website.

It's largely out with the baroque and the bow-saws here, although it wouldn't be the same band without some strings and orchestration being involved. However, first track, the spectacular 'A Distance', uses synths and darts back to the 1980s to pick up a few ideas; this is maybe as accessible as the band have been so far, yet it's hardly mainstream. It's also not a parody or a copy, it's still unique and still quite outstanding. Here we find Fanfarlo flexing their musical muscle and letting the world know that they're better than some might have expected, and perfectly capable of trying different ideas without sacrificing their identity. The luscious title-track is quite cinematic at times, partly because of the electric Western sound that appears at some points, and partly because the emotion of the song is very evocative. It might not be from a film, but your brain paints pictures to accompany it. Again this is spectacular stuff. 'The Wilderness' brings guitar to the fore but bears all the hallmarks of a classic pop song of the past. Not in an overly commercial or saccharin way, it's still alternative music, it's simply so good that the appeal will be wide. Final track 'Witchitaito' brings them closer to dreampop and those cosmic sounds that have been promised. It could easily be argued that with 'The Sea', Fanfarlo have gone one better than both of their albums so far. It has the songs, the ambition and the ideas to see the band go from strength to strength.

Buy the EP from Fanfarlo's website

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