By Mike Olinger
After last year’s Rooms Filled with Light and a string of successful music videos, London based alt. wavers Fanfarlo have returned with their anticipated EP The Sea.
It is a decidedly retro endeavor; with surf guitars and whammy bars bookending their signature Depeche Mode influenced Synthpop. This time around the music is warmer, catchier and more self-aware. Though the EP only contains four songs, Fanfarlo has managed to make a dynamic listen that is both innovative and readily accessible to their fan-base.
The opening track “A Distance” finds lead singer Simon Balthazar’s vocals oscillating between a ballroom croon and New Romantic warbling. Beyond it’s disco induced meandering, the song manages to tap into some profound themes, namely that relationships are fraught with miscommunication.
The title track emerges out of a sparkling harp arpeggio that wouldn’t feel out of place in Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The song’s nostalgic feel is enhanced by lyrics which detail a carefree day at the beach while painting a startling picture of reverse evolution back to the sea. Oyster shell percussion and heavenly female vocals hover over the powerful piano lines, aiding the tasteful production.
“The Wilderness” is about the grooviest track here, with tremolo guitars leading gracefully into a jangling overture. The socio-political themes are traded in for a more internal dialogue about the nature of self and the wilderness of the soul.
The finale, “WitchiTaiTo” is a loose adaptation of a traditional Native American Peyote song written by Jim Pepper in 1971. What first comes off as a mouthful of gibberish and whirl of mellotron can be deciphered as a life-affirming anthem upon return listens.
The Sea EP is an excellent addition to Fanfarlo’s steadily growing body of work. With their prolific output, it is our hope these lads will remain on the front lines, ushering in the third British invasion.
Reviewed by b3