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Friendly Fires

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Album Review

On their self-titled debut, Friendly Fires serve up a very slick — and very appealing — mix of synth pop and dance-rock with unexpected nods to shoegaze that suggest their hard-edged, nu-rave sound might blur into something more interesting. The band crafts a big, hooky sound that loves melody, rhythms, and choruses equally, especially on "Jump in the Pool," which is just as fun and refreshing as its title suggests (the tropical-sounding drum breaks don't hurt), and "In the Hospital," a sleek track that sounds like the D.F.A. collaborating with Franz Ferdinand on an especially poppy day. For the rest of Friendly Fires, the band switches between these two approaches, and while they do a pretty good job of bringing the punk-funk, particularly on "Lovesick," this is very familiar territory that the band doesn't embellish much — and "On Board" and "Photobooth" narrowly avoid coming off as parodies of that sound. Friendly Fires are more convincing, and more intriguing, when they give into their lush pop side. "Strobe"'s aptly shimmering guitars, flickering keyboards, and almost ridiculously pretty melody nod to M83 and New Order, and the band saves the best for last with "Ex Lover," which pits steep, tone-bending guitars and sleepy vocals against brisk dance beats, suggesting what Chapterhouse might have sounded like if they were actually influenced by house. As it stands, Friendly Fires seem to be influenced by dream pop and whatever trend is big in dance music — "Skeleton Boy"'s bleepy keyboards borrow from the 8-bit craze — but when the results are as immediate as this album is at its best, it's hard to slam them too much for being derivative; better just to enjoy Friendly Fires as fleeting fun.

Customer Reviews

Fires Fires Fires!

I don't normally write reviews on iTunes. I have an online radio show which covers that. But this album is sooooo good, anyone who has happened to stumble upon this page and is reading reviews because they are thinking about purchasing this album, don't. Just buy it. It's amazing. They are fantastic live; their sound covers so many genres it's mind boggling. Every song has quality on it's own merit so all of them stand out. Big things should happen for Ed, Ed & Jack!!

Outstanding new band

I saw Friendly Fires supporting Jack Penate in April, loved their music, bought their 3 EPs off iTunes - 9 tracks - all fantastic. They have a very unique sound I find hard to define - Dance, Pop, 80s, Electronic, all mixed into one. I love it. I then had the dilemma of deciding whether to see them or Jack Penate at Leeds festival, as they both were on at the same time! I chose Friendly offence to Jack Penate, he's a great live performer... Friendly Fires put on a great set to a tent full of fans. Been looking forward to the album for months, and have purchased this morning. Yet to listen all the way through but i've heard most of the songs anyway through gigs and myspace etc, so i can say it will not disappoint.

Impulsive buy but worth it

I don't usually download albums off impulse but I just had to with this one. I had the 30 secs on each track and got and listened to it myself and was amazed. Practically each song is a winner and yet individual and special at the same time; so STOP reading this and get it yourself lol.


Formed: St. Albans, Hertfordshire, Englan

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Playing dance-oriented music with the feel of indie pop but the insistent pulse of disco, Friendly Fires hail from St. Albans in Hertfordshire, England. Featuring Ed Macfarlane on vocals and keyboards, Edd Gibson on guitar, and Jack Savidge on drums, all three members of Friendly Fires were in their early twenties when they began making a splash on the U.K. music scene in 2006. After winning a following for their live work, they released their debut recording, an EP titled Photobooth, through the...
Full bio
Friendly Fires, Friendly Fires
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Customer Ratings