Album Review: Fanfarlo – Reservoir [Fanfarlo]
As you may have guessed from the use of their name, both as their band and label moniker, Fanfarlo are a group that likes to go it alone. Having flirted with various indie labels, the melodic pop-folk collective realised that they were to be offered little more expertise than they were capable of providing themselves. Thus, ‘Reservoir’ their highly anticipated debut, has, like most of the significant moments of their career, become an in-house production.
When Rivmixx says in-house, we of course mean in America, with inveterate indie producer Peter Katis – the man responsible for The National’s ‘Alligator’ and Interpol’s ‘Antics’. As you would expect, Katis’ production touches are evident all over ‘Reservoir’. Spacious yet intimate, it’s a credit to both band and engineer that Fanfarlo’s deceptively complex and lushly melodic arrangements are given room to shine without feeling overcrowded.
Perhaps it’s their diverse geographic background (members hail from Belgium, England and Sweden), but the group seem to have hit upon a sound that is of everywhere and nowhere.
The sextet (hehe) are currently fresh from a stateside tour, where ironically, considering the spate of US bands breaking the UK, the group seem to fare better. In fact, that North American indie-folk eclecticism, so evident in the likes of the Arcade Fire and Beirut, is a good reference point for Fanfarlo’s particular brand of pop music.
The group also harbour something of the same talent as those aforementioned groups in writing intelligent, thoughtful and catchy songs (see ‘Drowning Men’). Fortunately, what they don’t share with those bands is the tendency to enter dirge territory – Fanfarlo provide a decidedly happier, more philosophical affair; ‘The Walls Are Coming Down’, in particular, is far more joyous than anything you will find on either of the Arcade Fire’s efforts.
Overall, ‘Reservoir’ is a strong and focussed debut, Rivmixx is just slightly shocked that it’s come out of our own pleasant land. We suggest you catch them now, before they head off to greener pastures.
Written for Rivmixx