Fanfarlo - Reservoir

by Matthew C. Miller on May 24, 2009 at 2:56 AM
R&R Engage (1)


fanfarlo reservoir

The UK's Fanfarlo's first full-length LP, Reservoir is perhaps the best disc to land this year by a relatively unknown, unsigned, visionary sextet. At the very least, it is a hidden gem sure to add a shine to your heart and for the price, is not to be missed.

Recalling Baudelaire's novella La Fanfarlo, from which their name is derived, Fanfarlo is setting themselves up to be the example of romantic irony the music world needs right now.

Fanfarlo is a pleasureful mix of pop-infused folk-rock. At first listen I thought this was a new David Byrne (Talking Heads) collaboration. Singer Simon Balthazer has a spot-on ease about himself that does sound a bit like David Byrne but the Swede carries on in a direction all his own.

The production is not what you'd expect from an indie release, it's quite a few notches higher. Reservoir was produced by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol) and sure there are some similarities there and with groups like Arcade Fire, but they are largely minor comparisons and in my opinion attempt to pigeon-hole a group that has much more to offer.

Fanfarlo's music is indeed simple at it's core, but layered at times sounding like a chorus of souls singing timeless tunes. The songs are crafted to uplift and are full of interesting sounds pulling from electronica to classically-inspired strings. Reservoir will surround you with a group of unique voices, 30 acoustic guitars, xylophones, fanfarlophones, saws, banjos, trumpets and melodicas all in perfect harmony.

I've been spinning the digital bits on Reservoir for several days now and I am not interested in letting auto-repeat off the hook. Many of the songs on this release are destined to be timeless. It's really unfair of me to pull these songs out because I really enjoy them all but, I am particularly fond of "Luna", what with it's claps and driving violins and all. "Harold T. Wilkins, or How to Wait for a Very Long Time" (based off of the journalist/historian of the same name) has a syncopated importance that draws you into the song. Fanfarlo also saw fit to produce a great video for "Harold.", "T Wilkins." and the rest of us.

I'm also liking "Fire Escape" and "The Walls Are Coming Down" for it's revolutionary tendencies. "The Walls Are Coming Down" is a song that is ripe for driving us into the forceful take-back of our liberties that we have lost over the years due to the sly hands of self-serving political powers selling hope in a box. It's the '09 "Winds of Change". Perhaps a great theme song for Daniel Hannan.

Fanfarlo is currently in DIY Record Company Mode. They have released Reservoir on their own and even hand made a batch of 500 Limited Edition Models. Amazing what you can do and the better value you can deliver to your fans when you get all those pesky wolves off your back and go it alone. Reservoir can be had on the U.S. iTunes for an unbelievable $5.99.

iTunes has the release date set for June 1st, 2009 although Reservoir was recorded between October and November 2008 at Tarquin Studios, Connecticut. No matter, you can pick it up now 'cause it was actually released in JANUARY/FEBRUARY 09. The special edition is out on the 25th, but it's available for pre-order now.

I say Fanfarlo should keep going it on their own as we are sure to be the beneficiaries in the years to come. Although Fanfarlo has been together in various sizes for a few years now, this is just the beginning. 



Fanfarlo "Harold T. Wilkins, or How to Wait for a Very Long Time" - Video


Track List:

1. "I'm A Pilot" – 4:31
2. "Ghosts" – 4:18
3. "Luna" – 4:37
4. "Comets" – 5:44
5. "Fire Escape" – 3:00
6. "The Walls Are Coming Down" – 4:15
7. "Drowning Men" – 4:16
8. "If It Is Growing" – 2:43
9. "Harold T. Wilkins, or How to Wait for a Very Long Time" - 4:02
10. "Finish Line" - 3:40
11. "Good Morning Midnight" - 1:26


Fanfarlo is:

Amos Memon - drums & percussion, vocals
Cathy Lucas - violin, keys, mandolin, glock, vocals, saw
Justin Finch - bass, banjo
Leon Beckenham - trumpet, keys, glock, melodica
Simon Balthazar (aka Simon Aurell) - vocals, guitar, keys, mandolin, sax, clarinet, glock
Mark West - guitar, keys, vocals, accordion, fanfarlophone, noise [2006-2008]



1 R&R Engage comment to “Fanfarlo - Reservoir”

  1. Luke Jones Says:
    Absolutely amazing album, picked up the $1 release from there website and I'm sure to be buying it. I'd like the Special Edition, I'm a sucker for special things.

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