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Boomkat Product Review:
At the beginning of the year Friendly Fires were still basking in the glowing praise quite rightly lavished on their limited 7" single 'Paris', which led to them becoming the first unsigned band to feature on Channel 4's Transmission. Now a part of XL's impressive roster of artists, the band release a debut long-player that's hard to find flaw with. 'Paris' (now in a revised version complete with Au Revoir Simone on backing vocals) is still absolutely stunning. It might actually be one of the best indie singles for several years. It perfectly combines age-old pop preoccupations, the naïve, wide-eyed lyrics yearning for escape amidst implausibly wonderful choruses that just keep building and building. As fashionably right-on as the song's formulation of no-wave percussion and epic guitars may seem, there's nothing in any way disingenuous or calculated about 'Paris' it's just pure 'Born To Run'-style romance. Oh and the rest of the album's none too shabby either. It all kicks off with the Paul Epworth-produced 'Jump In The Pool', combining tropicalia percussion with a grandiose synth vista that sounds like about four different Ulrich Schnauss records playing at once. Impressively, this is the only track on the album to feature a producer: everything else is pieced together by the band's frontman Ed Macfarlane, who's by no means a green-gilled newcomer when it comes to electronics, having scored himself a slot on Skam's Skam Cats compilation a few years back. The deployment of synths and heavy-duty sound processing shines through brilliantly over the course of the album, helping no end when it comes to thickening up those immense choruses. Friendly Fires are most certainly a band you can dance to as well. Whether it's the electro-schaffel of 'White Diamonds' the falsetto new wave disco leanings of 'On Board' or 'Photobooth's expert punk-funk, there's a fluidity to the fusion of dancefloor formats with indie songwriting that's seldom achieved outside LCD Soundsystem records. A huge recommendation.