12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Friendly Fires’ 2008 eponymous debut introduced a promising band with an uncanny knack for songwriting, but it also revealed the them as genre neophytes, trying on bygone musical styles like vintage clothing. With Pala, the Hertfordshire, England–based trio solidify their sound. Over a dance-punk foundation, Friendly Fires trim their tunes with trace elements of disco, soul, dream-pop, and post-punk. The instantly winsome “Live Those Days Tonight” opens, pulsing on cosmopolitan dance-pop. Without reverting to retro rehash, the tune recalls moments of neon brilliance last heard in 1986. The following “Blue Cassette” starts like an early Daft Punk outtake before unraveling into a gigantic swooning anthem where the band somehow fuses a '80s New Romantic–flavored chorus with verses enveloped in electro-pop. This creates a well-oiled machine of innovative, kinetic dance music loaded to the gills with pop hooks. “Hurting” is another solid standout, where glossy disco rhythms and blue-eyed soul melodies braid together. “Pull Me Back to Earth” remains festive amid its gauzy soundscapes.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Friendly Fires’ 2008 eponymous debut introduced a promising band with an uncanny knack for songwriting, but it also revealed the them as genre neophytes, trying on bygone musical styles like vintage clothing. With Pala, the Hertfordshire, England–based trio solidify their sound. Over a dance-punk foundation, Friendly Fires trim their tunes with trace elements of disco, soul, dream-pop, and post-punk. The instantly winsome “Live Those Days Tonight” opens, pulsing on cosmopolitan dance-pop. Without reverting to retro rehash, the tune recalls moments of neon brilliance last heard in 1986. The following “Blue Cassette” starts like an early Daft Punk outtake before unraveling into a gigantic swooning anthem where the band somehow fuses a '80s New Romantic–flavored chorus with verses enveloped in electro-pop. This creates a well-oiled machine of innovative, kinetic dance music loaded to the gills with pop hooks. “Hurting” is another solid standout, where glossy disco rhythms and blue-eyed soul melodies braid together. “Pull Me Back to Earth” remains festive amid its gauzy soundscapes.

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About Friendly Fires

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 independent People in the Sky label near the end of 2006. The initial limited-edition pressing soon sold out, and demand for the record prompted a re-press by the time their second EP, Cross the Line, appeared in the summer of 2007. The acclaimed indie label Moshi Moshi Records picked up Friendly Fires for their third release, the single "Paris" b/w "Ex-Lover," issued on October 12, 2007. Thanks to a stylish video directed by Price James and a number of enthusiastic reviews, "Paris" became a hit, and the band landed a high-profile touring slot opening for Interpol on their U.K. tour. XL Recordings, one of England's biggest and most influential independent labels, signed the group to a recording contract; while working on their debut album, the band played New Musical Express' 2008 New Noise Tour. Friendly Fires arrived later that year, spawning the singles Skeleton Boy and Jump in the Pool. The band recruited producer Paul Epworth for their second album, 2011's Pala, which brought a newfound size and polish to their sound. ~ Mark Deming

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