Fenech-Soler - Glow (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
FENECH-Soler’s sophomore album is a triumph in two ways. Musically, it’s a generally engaging slice of electro-pop that stands out because of its edgier, more indie focus.
Personally, though, it marks the latest steps towards recovery for the band’s lead singer Ben Duffy, who was diagnosed with early-stage testicular cancer in 2011. Now successfully treated, he has been able to throw himself back into his love: music.
It’s perhaps one reason why many of the tracks on the LP take on such a euphoric nature. The synth arrangements here are big on a lot of occasion… the feel celebratory. Final track is all about seeing people “glow” or at least making oneself shine.
Album opener Youth strikes an instant chord. It’s got a sunshine feel, synths and beats that swirl and reverberate and a genuinely danceable vibe. It’s a strong starting point.
All I Know maintains the indie edge, dropping kick-ass tambourine beats over stop-start electro-guitar riffs to combine the worlds of synth-pop and indie to satisfying effect. There’s even a “whoa whoa” infused chorus for crowds (or dancers) to get behind.
In Our Blood is another highlight, with big production values and a bombastic sound that’s all about capturing that feeling of being alive in the right way… Duffy, meanwhile, sings in a falsetto style about nothing else mattering anymore before delivering lines like: “I don’t want to go back home.”
There are moments when the album struggles to offer interesting enough variations on the signature sound and certain songs feel like fillers.
But for the majority of the time, this gets things right and is effortlessly enjoyable without necessarily blowing you away. Last Forever is high on melody, finger-click beats and strong choruses, Somebody has an edgy late night vibe that darkens and even warps the slick focus of the synth sound and Fading combines towering beat structures with more euphoric harmonising to concoct a synth-pop equivalent to some of Coldplay’s grander, more recent moments over the chorus.
Still further into the album, Ritual II errs towards the cinematically grand with a great almost instrumental, while Glow ensures you depart on a high and feeling good about yourself.
Put together as a whole, Fenech-Soler’s sophomore release does indeed glow brightly.
Download picks: Youth, In Our Blood, Last Forever, Fading, Ritual II, Glow