Friendly Fires are ready for round two, with the upcoming release of Pala, the British band’s sophomore release, preceeded by ‘Live Those Days Tonight’, an electronic yet at the same time organic, mildly progressive midtempo.

The sound doesn’t astray too far from the vibe of their debut, but it incorporates a more organic instrumentation. It becomes an African percussive fest towards the end making it something new for the band; the synths and percussion blend amazingly well in the track. It is insanely difficult to avoid bobbing one’s head to the beat, and dropping a step or two.

The echoed synths are magnificent, especially how they transcend into resonating underlaid waves, while they become prominent during the heavily percussive background of the song. The experimental nature of the band is present in ‘Live Those Days Tonight’ but its furthered by diving into new ground with an even more elaborate musical build up. The bridges or breakdowns in their eponymous debut were progressive, but mainly based on synths and keys, now the synths are used to completement a different organic twist, giving an edgier and harder thump to their signature. Their style is cemented and continued in here, and if the track is anything to go by, the boys are right on with what they’re presenting as their second offering.

The vocal delivery is flawless, and laid back, and could push somewhat of a minimal soul edge at times. The lyrical structure hints at a positive message of personal choice and freedom, by leaving all hindrance behind and letting yourself go, putting off worry and all negative emotion, and live what has been missed. The song manages to take the listener into a delightful journey, leaving it wanting more.

It is quite a sonic experience. It is enjoyable, and even danceable to a point. Its very consistent despite the diverse instruments incorporated. It is a little electronic disco, classic pop, house combined with soft rock and heavy percussion. By description it may sound as if it were all over the place, but in fact it accomplishes a very unified sonic whole.

The album concept is based on Aldous Huxley’s novel Island, which goes by the name of ‘Pala’ in the story, where macaws whisper motivational messages to the island’s habitants. This might denote the album’s lyrical structure will be uplifting and positive, just like the lyrics in ‘Live Those Days Tonight’. It draws musical inspiration from the legendary Bee Gees.

Pala will feature collaborations with the Harlem Gospel Choir in the album cut ‘Hurting’ and Alex Frankel (Holy Ghost) in ‘True love’. The album production is accredited to the band itself and Paul Epworth, who worked with them in their first 2008 release, Friendly Fires.

★★★★★

C.Perez

Download ‘Live Those Days Tonight’

Pala to be released May 16th.