Fanfarlo’s debut album Reservoir was one of the more charming records of the last couple of years – a collection of lyrical indie-folk songs, delivered in Simon Balthazar’s lilting troubadour tenor over all manner of acoustic strings, horns, piano and percussion, roughly splitting the difference between (the band) James’s most bombastic moments and the The Decemberists’ most modest, with a loving nod to the singer-songwriter pop of the 70s. Not only are they an effortlessly charismatic live act, they’ve also put out some great videos, as evidenced by last year’s Twilight Zone-ish “Fire Escape”.
Following some extensive touring behind that first record, the band retreated to a “remote slate quarrying town in Northern Wales” to record its follow-up, and are previewing the album with a video (and free mp3 download) of “Replicate”. The song is a surreal and suspenseful compendium of unanswered questions, sung over tense strings, diabolically playful little organ doodles and haunted house woodblock percussion. Its verses feel like an update on a Bernard Herrmann film score, and after asking one last time – Will it replicate inside our bodies now? – the song comes to an abrupt end without reaching any kind of catharsis or resolution. Just: over.
I can’t wait for this album.