Gig review: Fanfarlo, Glasgow

Fanfarlo: A decorative sound full of pretty flourish and soaring crescendos
Fanfarlo: A decorative sound full of pretty flourish and soaring crescendos
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“I HOPE this date is going well so far?” inquired Fanfarlo’s Swedish songwriter and frontman Simon Balthazar, applying a cute double-meaning to these Londoners’ first show of a whistle-stop UK tour in support of new album Let’s Go Extinct – an experience he likened to a musical equivalent of speed-dating. There was definitely chemistry, by all appearances.

Fanfarlo - Broadcast, Glasgow

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With fiddle, trumpet and sax among other instruments threaded in among the traditional indie band setup of bass, drums, guitars and synthesisers, theirs is a decorative sound full of pretty flourish and soaring crescendos. It’s good enough to have once convinced David Bowie to declare Fanfarlo one of his favourite new discoveries (some bands would have just retired there and then after a compliment like that), though now three albums deep into their career they still arguably struggle to strongly distinguish themselves from a host of contemporaries. All from Shout Out Louds to Beirut and Efterklang were recalled specifically or in general lush feel by the likes of Ghosts and Cell Song.

But you couldn’t help but be charmed by Balthazar’s easy-going patter, nor the simple studio-sharpness of Fanfarlo’s playing, as capped by minty-fresh backing vocals from drummer Valentina Magaletti and severe-bobbed multi-instrumentalist Cathy Lucas. The nifty synthy indie-disco of Landlocked closed on a celebratory high.

There wasn’t time left for an encore, though Balthazar got a little extra whoop from the crowd just for coming back onstage to pack up his gear after a few minutes. To borrow his dating analogy – even if you’re unsure how far you’re prepared to go with Fanfarlo, they’re a band you’ll certainly want to see again.

Seen on 8.2.14