Fanfarlo: Rooms Filled with Light

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Fanfarlo
Rooms Filled with Light
(Canvasback/Atlantic Records)

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Since their 2009 debut, Reservoir, Fanfarlo have shown themselves to be gloriously out-of-sync with the English mainstream. Rooms Filled with Light seems to leap over the Atlantic, finding kin in the sounds of sprawling, artistic bands like Arcade Fire and Beirut.

All it takes is a glance at the tracklist to know that this album isn’t the average collection of love songs, particularly with the penultimate tune’s title being “A Flood.” However, this LP lives up to its name. Even as the lyrics go dark, levity is added by the high, happen tones from the band’s arsenal of instruments, including violin, mandolin, glockenspiel, and trumpet.

Also adding beauty to the chaos are the harmonizing vocals of Simon Balthazar and Cathy Lucas. The two complement each other perfectly, be it in the midst of the frantic horns and pounding drums on “Destruction” or when delivering “Tunguska” as more of a love ballad than an ode to a Russian explosion. The music also takes the opportunity to mimic frenetic events, with “Lenslife” bursting out from its quiet shell about a minute and a half from the start.

Rooms Filled with Light is a gorgeous, enchanting offering that manages to give brainy topics incredibly catchy pop hooks. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all to find this band a favorite of the indie kids on the strength of this record.

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