Thursday, May 28, 2009

New and Notable: Fanfarlo

Started in London by Swedish multi-instrumentalist Simon Balthazar, the six-piece orchestral pop group Fanfarlo has quickly started to amass popular and critical acclaim for their debut album, Reservoir, which was released this past February. The band marry the epic presentation of groups like Coldplay and Snow Patrol (stick with me...) with the imagination and musical prowess of Beirut and Arcade Fire, bands to which Fanfarlo has been compared numerous times. I have quickly fallen in love with Reservoir, an accessible, yet expressive and impressive collection of tunes that only increase in their enjoyability with repeated listens. I strongly recommend checking these guys out immediately.

My introduction to the band was during an NPR podcast when they played "The Walls Are Coming Down," an urgent, yet stately waltz beautifully produced with joyous horns, gorgeous strings, and sharp drumming behind Balthazar's strong tenor voice (indeed bearing some resemblance to Zach Condon). The song is an album highlight, as are the lovely, mandolin-led "Harold T. Wilkins or How To Wait For A Very Long Time" and the more upbeat, driving "Luna," though it's difficult to pick favorites with so much strong material to choose from. It could easily be argued that Fanfarlo doesn't exhibit all the depth and creativity of their indie superstar counterparts I mentioned earlier, but while that maybe true, Reservoir is a stunning and compelling debut that bodes great things for this group's future.

I'll be genuinely surprised (and disappointed) if these guys don't become the next big thing, so you might as well go get yourself acquainted now. Head to their MySpace to hear some songs, or over to Obscure Sound where you can download three tracks from the record.