Review Summary: Friendly Fires' self-titled LP stands out as classic/original dance rock.
Wow, just wow.
Within the indie community, dance music comes in a variety of styles. There's the obvious house/rave music genres, the myriad amounts of synth and electropop, experimental and art punkers, etc...
While many of these bands and artists are quite good, they all fit into a particular niche. Friendly Fires, however, proves that they are their own band with their stellar first album.
Friendly Fires' self-titled album is a melodic mix of a variety of musical styles. At first listen, it is apparent that the album is rock oriented. It drives and pushes just like any other generic indie rock band. As the listener delves deeper into the tracks though, a more rich experience is uncovered. The rock music "feel" is highlighted by slight tinges of electronic layering, funk music rhythm, and r 'n b-esque vocals. Ed Macfarlane can vocalize like no other. The already sweet pop lyrics are made even more sugary by the constant dips and dives of Macfarlane's vocal range.
I'm not personally a fan of heartfelt/poppy lyrics, but Ed sings with such emotion and meaning it's hard to not feel somehow connected.
"Jump in the Pool" sets the overall mood of the album. Lush, powerful, meaningful. The album's sound can fill any room. It shares the same aesthetic as a shoegaze album, but throws away noise and fuzz for reverb and melody. "Strobe" is the pinnacle of this. The atmospheric synths, delayed guitars, and lightly vocoded (if I'm not mistaken) chorus cause a drowsy response from the listener. You'll honestly feel like you're floating.
When it comes to dance music, Friendly Fires knows what's up. They have created an album completely original, and incredibly compelling. Quite amazing stuff.