Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Friendly Fires on JC Report

Logic implies that if you mix two music genres, you double your audience. Despite the difficulty of pulling this off, it's become common practice for bands to combine styles and influences these days. If executed properly the sum is exponentially better, but the reverse is also true. British trio Friendly Fires fall into the former category, fusing pop with both disco and house for a genre that's at once impressive and catchy.

The Rapture coined the term "punk-funk" when they released House of Jealous Lovers in 2002. The genre mixes screeching guitars with a pounding bass line for an infinitely danceable rock sound. The UK has a massive punk-funk legacy—Gang of Four, A Certain Ratio, XTC—but the sound was deceptively labeled "post-punk" until the New York quartet came along. No matter what you call it, Friendly Fires are worthy disciples of this genre—both old and new.

Their self-titled album does the trick. It's one of those LPs you can listen to while cleaning the house or shake your booty to in a disco. The sound is akin to epic pop, but spiced up with synthesizers, bass and drums—and a variety of percussion instruments. "Jump in the Pool" features bongo (see video above), while "On Board" includes cowbell (a punk-fink must-have) and "Ex Lover" is finished off with weird electronic sounds. It's a fiery debut, so let's not put it out.

For more information, see www.wearefriendlyfires.com.

—David Hellqvist


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