Posted by: Ryan Allen on September 25, 2008 at 11:00 am

Friendly Fires, Friendly Fires (XL Recordings. 2008)

MP3: “Jump In The Pool”

Hailing from the northern suburbs of London, Friendly Fires were apparently born out of boredom. Shocking, considering that their self-titled, XL-approved debut is far from yawn inducing (but we guess that’s how they do in the “northern suburbs of London”). Combining funky rhythms and sweeping synths, at first glance, it seems that these lads are aiming straight for your ass, creating a mood that seems ripe for drug taking, bumps ‘n grinds, and other naughty things. But, while FF do tend to fit into the electronica/synthpop genre usually reserved for mindless romps on the dance floor (think the Presets new-wave sheen mingling with the bounciness of Foals, and you’re close), they pick things up where other more credible influences like the Talking Heads and Public Image Ltd. left off — packing in substance and soul behind into their elastic sound. Lead singer/guitarist Ed Mac brightens every song with hooks so effortless, you’d swear they came from the mind of David Byrne himself, while synth player/guitarist Edd Gibson and drummer Jack Savidge create a seasaw of building melodies that rise with a fury and cascade into a rush of euphoria. Album opener “Jump in the Pool” kicks things off, with chaotic drums and a throbbing bass line, egging you to do exactly what the title demands. “Lovesick” is a sure hit, chock full of sexy, breathy vocals and a synth line that ought to give Fischerspooner and Klaxons a run for their money. And if you’re not sold by the time “Skeleton Boy” rolls around — a track that seamlessly transitions from 70s-disco glitter into to a gorgeous, sing-a-long chorus — then, my friend, you’re probably just afraid of the water. — Elle Sawa

Bonus!: The video for “Jump In The Pool”

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