A bit of sparkle and magic is all you need, and your life improves immeasurably.
Ian Wade 2008
Friendly Fires, the splendidly-named trio hailing from St Albans, first ventured into showbiz using the medium of instrumental, Fugazi-esque hardcore. Realising that it wasn't really them, and thankfully lightening up a bit, Ed, Edd and Jack ventured forth into the world of disco and headed towards a far more interesting and musically rewarding future. It's one that's found them feted by the likes of Zane Lowe, Colin Murray and Rob Da Bank, loved by Guardian and NME alike, and now on XL – fast becoming a label that's the home of the hits.
Friendly Fires rattles along quite nicely. There may not be an immediacy or instant large to the angle of the Fires' jangle, but after a couple of listens you're wondering why they didn't release it at the height of summer, as it would've sounded perfect. Self-produced, with the exception of the Paul Epworth-produced single and lead track, Jump In The Pool, and recorded under Ed's parent’s house, it's an album that sounds at home on both the radio and down the rave-up.
Earlier tracks, Paris and On Board are particularly ebullient and joyous, bringing to mind classic Chicago house textures with hand-in-air rushing moments. In The Hospital has the sweaty urgency of LCD Soundsystem, and Photobooth may destroy Earth itself, once a few choice remixes are commissioned. Lovesick is downright amazing: potentially the tune that turns the band from skinny indie groovers into chart-eating pop behemoths. Certain choruses and breakdowns mark this as a post-Klaxons album but that's about as much as FF has in common with the nu-rave herberts. Friendly Fires sound more like an excitable, puppy-like version of The Rapture or Cut Copy.
Overall, Friendly Fires – along with Late Of The Pier and Wild Beasts – have shown that there's some more forward-thinking and multiplex bands for people who've grown bored of the identikit indie gristle. A bit of sparkle and magic is all you need, and your life improves immeasurably.