Following the release of 2011’s Pala, frontman Ed Macfarlane boldly declared that his band’s pop days were over, and the next Friendly Fires record would consist of “totally weird, psyched out, eight-minute long jams”. Eight years on and the trio, made up of three childhood friends from St Albans, have finally delivered a follow-up – their, errr… most radio-friendly offering to date.
It seems Macfarlane’s proposed psychedelic voyage never left the port, and after spending a few hours with third LP Inflorescent you’d probably suggest that was for the best. From the wide-eyed optimism of ‘Hawaiian Air’ to the sheer bombast of ‘Paris’, Friendly Fires have always been at their best when letting the good times roll and, in this sense, their highly-anticipated third release delivers.
Single ‘Heaven Let Me In’, co-produced by Disclosure, is an immediate highlight: a disco-house crossover which oscillates beautifully around the band’s signature vocal harmonies. ‘Offline’ tackles smart-phone addiction with gloriously euphoric pop hooks, whilst ‘Silhouettes‘ evokes carnival festivities.
By the time ‘Love Like Waves’ rolls around, a tropical companion piece to 2011 single ‘Blue Cassette‘, Friendly Fires sound utterly irresistible. After almost a decade in the dark, the band’s future feels brighter than ever – let’s only hope album four arrives a little more hastily.
Friendly Fires play Camden Roundhouse on October 30th, tickets here.
Photo credits: Dan Wilton