Fanfarlo: Rooms Filled With Light

Fanfarlo, Rooms Filled With LightFanfarlo: Rooms Filled With Light
In 2009, Fanfarlo released their debut album, Reservoir. The album was noted by critics for its use of baroque instrumentation with indie folk songwriting similar to Arcade Fire. The band does little to end the Arcade Fire comparisons on their new album, Rooms Filled With Light. Much like how Arcade Fire’s sound evolved from baroque pop with Funeral to a more rocky sound with Neon Bible, Fanfarlo seems to be going through the same change.
The album opens with the quick violin hits of “Replicate.” The track is the classic definition of baroque pop, with no use of traditional “rock” instruments instead completely relying on strings and various esoteric percussion. But the track is not setting the mood for the album, instead it is acting as a bridge between the old Fanfarlo and their new sound. “Deconstruction” begins the march into their new sound. The quick string hits are still there but forced back in the mix behind driving drums, bass, guitar, and keyboard. The mix of male and female vocals can not help but evoke memories of Arcade Fire, especially with lead singer Simon Balthazer’s Win Butler-esque voice and intonation.
That is not to say that Fanfarlo does not take any chances on Rooms Filled With Light. There is the horn-filled Madness-esque “Tunguska” or the bass-heavy Talking Heads-inspired bopper “Tightrope,” the latter of which might be the finest song on the album. But for the most part, Fanfarlo seems content to stay in Arcade Fire’s shadow. The question is, do you care? Rooms Filled With Light does not surpass The Suburbs in greatness either musically or conceptually but it does provide just as many catchy songs that once burrowed into your head will be difficult to get out. In the end, many album’s do not even inch towards that line; so instead of crucifying Rooms Filled With Light for what it lacks, I celebrate it for what it is: a catchy-indie pop album from Britain’s wannabe Arcade Fire.
Rating: 7.3/10
MP3: Fanfarlo “Tightrope”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl

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