The passion, the obsession, the
dissolution of intellectual rigour; heart and longing colliding with mind
and matter, the recurrent theme of Fanfarlo.
As aging instruments are
brought back to life with a creaking aching beauty, a bizarre collection of
characters join our midst. Each an accidental Fanfarlo metaphor - the
irrational pursuit of an otherwise intellectual mind.
Howard Hughes’ decent into
madness "I’m A Pilot"; the delusion of Pellegrino Ernetti "The Walls Are
Coming Down" and the absurd writing career of "Harold T. Wilkins", all sweep
from sweet murmuring melodia to orchestral pop.
Again and again the band find
ways to mirror the impotent fury of the words. Cathy Lucas (violin,
keyboard, vox), Justin Finch (bass) and Amos Memon (drums) and
Leon Beckenham (trumpet, keyboard) all conspire to ensure that Fanfarlo eschew a
defining format. Reaching for less than obvious conclusions to musical
conundrums: saws, clarinets, cellos, mandolins, ukuleles, melodicas, hands
clapping and feet stomping.
There is no doubt that all of
Fanfarlo are clever, bookish coves, but when they come together to make music,
they function on a gut level. For a band that comes from all over – frontman
Simon Balthazar is himself from Gothenburg - there is that restless, furtive
artistry. A keenness to avoid the constraints of home, battling with the longing
of the heart, the distant locations of a burning house "Fire Escape"; a drowning
village "Ghosts"; and the uneasy sensations of urban sprawl, "Luna."
Trapped and spiralling guitars,
an insistently hammered piano chord, or an ominous stomp, the fervour with
which they play is stirring and infectious… Fanfarlo Baudelaire’s fictional
dancer, impossibly desirable, an inescapable object of obsession.
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