When you take your name from a novella by Charles Baudelaire there has to be a chance that certain parallels will be drawn between it and your own work. And in the case of Fanfarlo this proves to be very much the case. In keeping with the protagonist in the French poet’s largely autobiographical piece of fictional prose, the Simon Balthazar-led quartet of the same name have become transfixed with everything that is shiny and bright.
Fanfarlo’s primary object of desire is synthpop, huge replica waves of atmospheric, synthetic sound that they have pillaged straight from the 1980s. On their new EP The Sea and following firmly in the footsteps of last year’s second album Rooms Filled With Light, to this grand design – at times part Associates, part Simple Minds – they have added the subtler intrigue of piano, mellotron strings, even a touch of delicate Duane Eddy guitar twang on ‘The Wilderness’ before signing off with some beautifully understated brass on their rousing cover of jazz saxophonist Jim Pepper’s ‘Witchi Tai To’.
Baudelaire stood in the vanguard of modernity, a radical voice that was to shape art for generations to come. By contrast, Fanfarlo take their most immediate inspiration from the past. Yet both are forces of nature in their own way and whilst Fanfarlo the band may ultimately do little to radically alter the course of popular music, through the expansive, epic sweep of their arrangements and stirring releases such as this they will continue to leave an imprint on its landscape.
Fanfarlo’s four track EP The Sea is released on 14th October through New World Records