Friendly Fires – Pala
You can’t imagine the money men at Friendly Fires’ label having too many sleepless nights over when to release Pala. With summer almost within touching distance, the boys from St. Albans have produced possibly the most unashamedly sunny and joyful album of glossy pop since crimped hair and shoulder pads went out of fashion!
After the slight false start of their first, self-titled album (a bit too ponderous in places to rival the bright neon lights of the Klaxons’ nu-rave scene), Pala sets its stall out to be a relentless, chorus-laden pop classic. ‘Live Those Days Tonight’ kicks things off brilliantly with an incessant samba tempo and infectious chorus that just keeps going.
After that, the album is a tour de force of glossily produced 80’s throwbacks that, although feeling a bit silly and over the top at times, ends up being an addictively guilty pleasure.
Best of all is ‘Hurting’, which boasts a chorus that’s so good they just stuck it on a loop for five minutes and it never gets boring. Brief respite from all the breathless, sun-drenched fun comes in the shape of the soulful summer-romance of the title track, which begins with Rio-esque camera clicks and whirrs before swelling up into something entirely different. It’s a rare moment of sensual tranquillity that suggests there’s more to Friendly Fires than infectious holiday-disco floor fillers.
Pala seems certain to become one of the albums to soundtrack summer 2011 – and should provide the backing music to many a memorable festival and back garden barbeque experience in the coming months! It’s probably safe to say that its relentless approach to pop music won’t quite sound as fresh and exciting come October though!