ALBUM REVIEW: “Pala” by Friendly Fires

May 20. 2011 | By Mayumi Okamoto

Friendly Fires
[XL Recordings]

If you’re looking for the perfect album to provide the musical score to your travels abroad or your stay-cation at home during summer 2011, then look no further. Pala, the sophomore follow-up to Friendly Fires’ 2008 self-titled debut album, will have you smelling the Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion from the moment you press play.

The eleven track album is replete with Ed Macfarlane’s breathy falsetto reminiscent of 1990s pop vocals (with R&B influences) over sweaty body swaying chest-pumping beats. The one exception is the slower paced title track in the middle of the album, which provides the listener with a little breather, like a cool drink of water to recharge their partying battery. You can subtly foreshadow the inevitable demise of your summer fling by throwing on “Hurting” and dancing your way through the looming break-up. Art can imitate life and Friendly Fires can do the breaking up for you as Ed croons, “Ain’t no way that I can keep feeling the pain of your touch / your touch keeps on hurting / gotta let this go / gotta feel some more / on my own/ your touch keeps on hurting.” Ouch.

Though Pala is a little less flashing-lights-in-an-indie-dance-club and more sipping-on-drinks-with-umbrellas-poolside, the album from the UK-based electo-pop band would be a welcomed addition on any mixtape with the likes of !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Hot Chip or Royksopp. Summer 2011 is shaping up to be a good one indeed.

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