Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fanfarlo - Not Just For Fans

Fanfarlo's second album, titled Rooms Filled with Light was released on February 28. To give a little perspective, Fanfarlo is an indie folk band hailing from London. They released Reservoir, their debut album, approximately two and a half years ago. Reservoir immediately gained much critical acclaim - at least within the indie world. Now, I was a big fan of Reservoir. It employed a nice mix of instruments that I was continually growing to enjoy due to my immersion in indie folk music- trumpets, violins, clarinets, and more could be distinguished behind main singer Simon Balthazar's unique vocals. Thus, when I discovered that their second album was going to be released in early March, I expected a lot; it did not let down.

Rooms Filled with Light opens up with "Replicate," which feels as if it belongs on a soundtrack to Alice in Wonderland, Alice tiptoeing through the wilderness. One is fully immersed in the song midway through, when the violins make an appearance, setting up the rest of the journey that is Rooms Filled with Light. Next in line is "Deconstruction," which starts off as if it is a song playing backwards, turning upbeat really quickly. "Lenslife" is happy throughout, with trumpets blaring in the background. "Shiny Things," though, takes the listener completely by surprise. In a sharp contrast to the previous two songs, it begins in a solemn and pensive manner, with only the synthesizer playing. The drums enter around minute one, and the rest of the song displays a slightly improved and happier mood, but the calm and sorrow from the beginning is still apparent. "Tunguska" is a mesh of noise that works somehow. There are trumpets playing, what seems to be a metal washboard being scraped, random wilderness and water sounds interspersed throughout, and a woman singing who mirrors the main vocals. "Everything Turns" has intense piano riffs throughout, but it is still somewhat calming due to the consistent melody of the xylophone, and the guitar chords near the end. It's a nice instrumental that prepares the user for the second half of the CD.

The second half of the CD opens up with "Tightrope," which has a catchy beat throughout. Next is "Feathers." The start of it makes one feel as if they are in a mystery movie; this quickly transitions into an 80's feel. The repetitive chorus at the end leaves the listener feeling energized. "Bones" is another calm song amidst craziness. Upon listening to the lyrics, the listener feels more complete, since the song is about looking for clarity and searching for your own answers, ultimately declaring that the answers are already known; they're in your bones. "Dig" is upbeat and engaging, with a fun little violin riff in the middle. "A Flood" is soothing throughout, and is one song sure to make people's "sleepy playlist." Lastly, there is "Everything Resolves," which starts of soft, but gets progressively more powerful in its short 40 seconds, sure to leave the listener on a positive note.

Overall, I would give Rooms Filled with Light an 8/10, sure to satisfy anyone's taste. If you're expecting something completely similar to Reservoir, though, you're sure to be let down. Rooms Filled with Light stands on its own, and it should be appreciated as such. Happy Listening!

Josh Diaz

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