Video: ‘Skeleton Boy’

Friendly Fires are a band from St Albans whose music falls somewhere between dance and rock. Their début album is a set of ten slick numbers just as suited to an indie disco as to listening at home.

Opener ‘Jump in the Pool’ sets the standard, with frenetic beats in the verses, and a chorus that floats along in between. Great stuff. The rest is essentially variations on that theme, but with a good amount of variety for all that. The band try their hand at a number of different styles, whilst maintaining a distinctive Friendly Fires sound. Ed Macfarlane is not that great a singer, but that’s not so important for music of this nature, and his voice fits in just fine. Out of all ten songs, I’d say that only ‘On Board’, though it bounces along nicely to begin with, ultimately outstays its welcome. Generally speaking, however, it all comes together well.

The thing is, though… I find myself flagging by the last couple of tracks. This is no reflection on the quality of the songs themselves, but it does make me think that Friendly Fires’ music may be best appreciated in short bursts. Or maybe it depends on context, because I get a sense that they’d be great live. What I’m certain of is that the band sound as though they had a ball making this record – and their enthusiasm is infectious.

Video: ‘Paris’ (live)

Read my other Mercury Prize 2009 posts here.