Music Review: Fanfarlo, Rooms Filled with Light

In “Rooms Filled with Light,” Fanfarlo presents an entirely different sound than in their first album, “Reservoir.” The first track, “Replicate,” contains many of the same prevalent strings as some of the tracks from “Reservoir,” but the song teeters with vocals that break out from that routine. For another band, this could result in a song that spends the whole time building towards an explosion, but burns out before it gets there. Instead, Fanfarlo uses it as a launching point for the album. Listeners cling to Simon Balthazar’s voice as he leads them into the next song, “Destruction,” which begins with the same synthetic start as some of the songs from “Reservoir.” It then busts into some surf rock mixed with ’80s style pop. Needless to say, “Destruction” resonates as the catchiest song on the album.

Experimental music enters the album based upon inspirations from Fanfarlo’s first album, but does not fit their style well. The purely instrumental “Everything Turns” genuinely piques interests with its blend of electronic music and acoustic guitar. Fortunately, the band quickly returns to their roots by mixing Balthazar’s voice with interesting instrumentation.

Fanfarlo compares itself to Arcade Fire, and on “Tightrope” the comparison becomes fairly obvious. The song sounds like it came straight from Arcade Fire’s “Neon Bible.” In fact, Fanfarlo fits the other band’s style quite nicely into the rest of the album, in which Arcade Fire’s influence remains clear but not overwhelming.

The back half of the album lags a bit with the unimpressive “Dig.” The song lacks any real entertainment value and recalls the style of “Reservoir.” This track leads directly into “A Flood,” which is slower than much of the rest of the album and resonates heavily as a result. One of the best songs on the album, it sounds nothing like the other songs, but flows perfectly with the rest of the album. The interplay of Balthazar’s voice with violinist Cathy Lucas has an interesting effect. Her presence on “A Flood” adds a nice variety and develops an overall tenderness in the song. The album closes with the thirty-eight second instrumental “Everything Resolves” a risky decision that does not make sense. Ending with “A Flood” would have provided listeners with more of a feeling of closure.

As a whole, this album showcases the same enticing vocals and instrumentals as the first Fanfarlo album, but the last two years led the band down a more experimental path. The lyrics may follow similar patterns, but the songs feature nuanced and unique techniques. They may lose some fans as a result of this departure from the norm, but they produced an album that challenges and rewards listeners who stick with it.


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