Friendly Fires

Friendly Fires | XL
By SAM UBL  |  September 2, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
friendlyinside.jpg
Since the Swiss Beats Act of 2003 made it safe for indie-rock fans to dance, lots of bands have demonstrated proficiency in four-on-the-floor metrics, stiff rhythm guitar, and a strange creature known as a mash-up. But few have embraced the euphoric corniness and unblushing sentimentality that unites styles as distant as Balearic house and happy gabber. Which is why I never understood the clamor over the Klaxons, who seemed as spiritually out of touch with their putative rave inspiration as Friendly Fires seem in tune with their omnivorous catalogue of influences. The Hertfordshire trio’s debut full-length cobbles from some of dance rock’s silliest (and sappiest) party mavens, among them Talking Heads, Prince, and the Rapture, as well as from primary sources: hear Professor Murder tumbled into an æthereal anthem trance wormhole on “Jump in the Pool” and Michael Jackson paid naive and ecstatic homage on “Lovesick.” There’s even a Schaffel track, “White Diamonds,” and it’s a pretty good one. Eclecticism like this can be a drag when it’s forced or disingenuous, but Friendly Fires’ enthusiasm is disarming. They’re hipsters who don’t mind looking goofy, and if that makes them worse hipsters, it makes them way — way — better musicians.
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