Hailing from the land of our newlywed royal couple, Friendly Fires have a unique way of blending light and airy upbeat tempos with a trance of indie new wave pop that is surprisingly danceable. Pala continues Friendly Fire’s previous creative endeavors of mixing hard and fast indigenous drum solos over a more regulated pop sound. The beats are fast, but the overall feeling is laidback due to lead singer Ed Macfarlane’s hypnotizing swoon. Each song showcases Macfarlane’s range as he’s able to provide a soft low whisper and transition to a high echoing falsetto.

The music is definitely a type of soft pop fusing M83 with a ’70s disco mix. Tracks like “Blue Cassette” capture the themes of love and longing that continually string along the album. The track starts with a narrator finding a cassette tape recalling, “As I hear your voice, you set my heart on fire.” It can be sappy at times, but the new wave nature of Pala makes the whole experience appear dreamlike. The album doesn’t go into the depth of Friendly Fire’s more eclectic masterpieces like 2009’s “Jump in the Pool” but Pala still keeps us dreaming drumbeats.

Grade: B+



Pala is currently available. Friendly Fires perform June 10 at the Music Box.