For fans of the London-based quintet known as Fanfarlo their new album, Rooms Filled With Light, is both a breath of fresh air and a throwback to 80′s new-wave pop at the same time. You’d think sounding like records that are almost 30 years old would seem stale but the current landscape of indie rock has an immediate opening in all things new-wave. The band’s quirky and arty sound has found themselves in playlists alongside bands such as The Cure and Talking Heads. This album will only reinforce those comparisons.
The album opens with a rather intense string-induced “fright fest” called “Replicate” that’s part-Andrew Bird, part-David Byrne but serves as a bizarre and beautiful opener. Track numero dos, “Deconstruction”, is the album’s first single and is a focused and upbeat tune that raises you up but sort of falls apart with with the creepy piano outro. For my money, the light doesn’t fill the room until almost two minutes into the third track “Lenslife” which takes the orchestral pop back to more familiar territory, a la 2008′s Reservoir. A great tune that certainly flows with glimmering ripples and crashing waves. “Tightrope” is a foot-stomper for the internet age and just like the lyrics – it could all come crashing down at any moment. Pretty heavy stuff but what do you expect from a song that may or may not have a harp in it? Once the album gets going it’s actually quite fun. Fanfarlo succeeds in making themes of science and extinction seem fun and quirky. Swedish frontman Simon Balthazar manages to keep an element of hope and youthful energy in a genre that historically includes frontmen who look like Edward Scissorhands or Max Headroom.
Rooms Filled With Light is a little more “out there” than the band’s debut 2008 record Reservoir but the unconventional spirit combined with an electronic and orchestral “double-threat” create a very atmospheric record that would make even Brian Eno proud. They mix elements of folk, indie rock and post-punk using a variety of instruments including the trumpet, violin, mandolin and glockenspiel. A lot of potential combinations there and most of them come together nicely. It’s not the best album of the year but if you’re partial to bands like Belle & Sebastian or Arcade Fire you will fit right in. There’s a depth to the album that I overlooked the first few times but after a few more whirls (and a new set of headphones) I’ve finally seen the light.
Here are live sessions of two great tracks from Rooms Filled With Light.
London-based, Indie rock band, Fanfarlo, has released a video for the newest song, “Deconstruction”. The song is from their follow-up album to 2009′s debut Reservoir. The new album titled Rooms Filled With Light will be released on FEBRUARY 28th in the US and on the 27th in the rest of the world.
The band is describing their new record as “a nuclear submarine falling from space.”