Fanfarlo - Let's Go Extinct (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
FANFARLO have gone for the epic on their third album, Let s Go Extinct, but while certainly hitting the occasional high and arriving full of big ideas, the album itself curiously underwhelms as a whole.
Songwriter Simon Balthazar says of the LP: “All the songs we’d written seemed to deal in direct or roundabout ways with the things that the theory of evolution tries to answer: where the hell are we, and where are we going next?
“The weirdness of being this thing we call a person and the double weirdness of other people. So, we set about dealing with the subject matter with all the flippant playfulness and childish seriousness it deserves.”
He continues: “In a way we went a bit metaphysical with this one. We took inspiration from the theory of Panspermia and visions of post-apocalyptic London, as well as Kurt Vonnegut, Alan Watts and Miroslav Holub, neuroscience and love, because at the end of the day, you can listen to these songs as simple stories of love, hunger and loss.”
The result is a grand album but one that lacks a killer touch. Some moments – most notably the current single Landlocked – come close. And it does have the ability to surprise, as in the conclusion to Painting With Life.
There are even Talking Heads moments to enjoy (A Distance) and moments of genuine beauty… as on final track and title offering, Let’s Go Extinct, which combines beauty with bittersweet melancholy.
But while never terrible, there’s something indifferent about certain songs. Opening track Life In The Sky takes a while to get going before hitting you with a flurry of spacey synths and horns. Yet it lacks a killer chorus.
Cell Song does a lot better, it’s enchating electronics and jazzy undertow, combining well with the boy-girl vocals, which combine the dusky with the sweet. It’s a trick repeated on the aforementioned Landlocked, which lay down some of the most head-spinning electronic arrangements on the LP.
But on slow-build moments like Myth of Myself, which employ flutes as well, you get the feeling that bands like Noah & The Whale and Fyfe Dangerfield and his Guillemots do it slightly better.
Having been past fans of Fanfarlo, this makes the disappointment perhaps greater. For while we didn’t exactly dislike the album – and indeed found a lot to like – it never had us wanting to return to it in a hurry.
Download picks: Landlocked, Cell Song, Let’s Go Extinct, A Distance