Friendly Fires arrived with a bang in 2008, following up two EPs with a self-titled album that rockists could love: equal parts guitar tsunami, wall of synth and soaring choruses. On Wednesday night at the Roxy, the Englishmen – previewing songs from their forthcoming sophomore album “Pala” “Lala” [corrected] – gave every indication that funk can be friendly too.
Singer Ed Mcfarlane and crew, augmented by two horn players, showcased new songs that were much more dance-funk than dance-punk – new tunes such as “True Love,” “Running Away” and “Hurting” seemed to have as much in common with the disco of 30 years ago as today’s punk-spiked electro. (The Bee Gees have been mentioned, appropriately.) The horn interlude in “Lovesick” even turned their old hit a brighter shade as the frontman dipped into the crowd to engage in some pogoing.
Mcfarlane’s keening falsetto was in fine form, and even when the new material got a little one-note (“Chimes” couldn’t get to the chorus fast enough), the thunderous beats, often the result of dual percussion, stoked the fires of the capacity club. “Slowly but surely, we’re going to up the ante,” Mcfarlane told the crowd, but that was seven songs into the set, when many were already drenched in sweat. Yet the super-charged “Show Me Life” and the powerful, ’80s-reminiscent closer “Kiss of Life” (streaming on their website) did just that.
No firm details for the release of “Lala” – it’ll be this spring on XL Recordings. But from Wednesday’s outing, it appears Friendly Fires have upped the ante.
Jump in the Pool
Pull Me Back to Earth
Show Me Lights
Kiss of Life