Harking back to the era of funkily optimistic pop may not speak to our times, but FF’s first album in eight years is truly joyous
When Friendly Fires released their debut album in 2008, the St Albans trio’s busy, brooding brand of electro-punk seemed precision-engineered for a music scene craving respite from the scratchy guitars and pointy brogues of landfill indie. By the time the band’s second, Pala, came out three years later, they were on the precipice of proper mainstream success; their dancefloor-friendly synthpop merged intricate, pulsing percussion with big, yearning choruses. Now, however, as the band return to a fractured pop landscape after a momentum-quashing eight-year break, their relationship to the zeitgeist is far less clear. Perhaps they know this: on their third album, they instead seem intent on submerging themselves in the past.