The British group started as a post-hardcore band in school at St. Albans, but graduated to electro-dance after university. First came some hit singles in the U.K., and now they’ve dropped their debut full-length, stocked with feet-friendly tracks.
Friendly Fires opens with maybe its best number, “Jump in the Pool”, which combines tropicalia beats to an atmospheric electronica. In general, Friendly Fires are best when they keep that Caribbean flavor, like on the faster, synthed “Paris”, than on the simpler, more straight-dance songs like “In the Hospital” in between. They’re also better when a little cheeky and cheesy, such as with the grand “White Diamonds” or press-fun finisher “Ex Lover”, than when more serious and emotional, like with slower, boring middle piece, “Strobe”.
The following number, “On Board”, plays it very different, with a funky groove. That funky beat comes back underneath the call-to-action-and-love “Skeleton Boy”. But the dance-tasm returns with the dance-tastic “Photobooth” and its upbeat fun. While not yet at the level of today’s disco-dance toppers, Friendly Fires are heating up with a smile.