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Friendly Fires add a little funk to the frenzy at Roxy

by Kevin Bronson on February 10, 2011

Friendly Fires arrived with a bang in 2008, following up two EPs with a self-titled album that rockists could love: equal parts guitar tsunami, wall of synth and soaring choruses. On Wednesday night at the Roxy, the Englishmen — previewing songs from their forthcoming sophomore album “Pala” “Lala” [corrected] — gave every indication that funk can be friendly too.

Singer Ed Mcfarlane and crew, augmented by two horn players, showcased new songs that were much more dance-funk than dance-punk — new tunes such as “True Love,” “Running Away” and “Hurting” seemed to have as much in common with the disco of 30 years ago as today’s punk-spiked electro. (The Bee Gees have been mentioned, appropriately.) The horn interlude in “Lovesick” even turned their old hit a brighter shade as the frontman dipped into the crowd to engage in some pogoing.

Mcfarlane’s keening falsetto was in fine form, and even when the new material got a little one-note (“Chimes” couldn’t get to the chorus fast enough), the thunderous beats, often the result of dual percussion, stoked the fires of the capacity club. “Slowly but surely, we’re going to up the ante,” Mcfarlane told the crowd, but that was seven songs into the set, when many were already drenched in sweat. Yet the super-charged “Show Me Life” and the powerful, ’80s-reminiscent closer “Kiss of Life” (streaming on their website) did just that.

No firm details for the release of “Lala” — it’ll be this spring on XL Recordings. But from Wednesday’s outing, it appears Friendly Fires have upped the ante.

Setlist

Blue Cassette
True Love
On Board
Running Away
Chimes
Skeleton Boy
Hurting
Jump in the Pool
Pull Me Back to Earth
Show Me Lights
Paris
Lovesick
Kiss of Life


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael MacLeod February 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

The new album is called Pala. A simple google of “Friendly Fires new album” would have saved your blushes. Meanwhile check out my blog of every new song they’ve played live so far. Hoping people who see them on this world tour will contribute to the building excitement for Pala by adding their videos too. http://newfriendlyfires.tumblr.com/
Cheers,
Michael, Edinburgh, @Friendly_Fires

kevin February 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

thanks for the assist Michael — that, my friend, was a stupid typo

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