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13 Reviews
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elfin Anthems
Any album with a song featuring a musical saw
(played here by one Cathy Lucas) is bound to
capture my full attention. There are many other
good reasons why Fanfarlo's debut album 'Reservoir'
should find a place in the listening world.

Founded around three years ago by multi-instrumentalist/
composer Simon Balthazar, his ensemble is...
Published on 26 Nov 2009 by The Wolf

versus
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars likeable enough but I just can't love this....
I'm still working out why it is I don't drool over this record. On the surface it has everything going for it. In terms of Professor Farnsworth's Cool-O-Meter® on Futurama this should be worth many MegaFonzies. Some fine singing, well-constructed songs, nice instrumentation and more than a nod at some of the finest bands of the last decade or so. But then isn't that it...
Published on 13 Mar 2010 by Mike J. Wheeler


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elfin Anthems, 26 Nov 2009
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
Any album with a song featuring a musical saw
(played here by one Cathy Lucas) is bound to
capture my full attention. There are many other
good reasons why Fanfarlo's debut album 'Reservoir'
should find a place in the listening world.

Founded around three years ago by multi-instrumentalist/
composer Simon Balthazar, his ensemble is creating some
highly intriguing and distinctive music.

The eleven tracks in this fine collection are strong
on melody and lyrical finesse. The arrangements are
richly textured and cleverly conceived.

Comparisons have been made with Arcade Fire and I am
able to see why this might be so but we must not let
this set our minds against them. There is more than
enough room on the planet for another talented bunch
of minstrels capable of delivering exciting and
uplifting material of this quality.

'Fire Escape' is very nearly a pop song with mainstream
potential. A jolly tune which romps happily along
without a care in the world. The nonchalant whistling
(a tragically neglected skill) at its close is a simple
and inspired addition.

'The Walls Are Coming Down' is chock-full of spirited
mandolin, trumpet and violin interventions set within
a powerful melodic and rhythmic framework. Amos Memon's
raucous drums and splashing cymbals are a delight.

'If It Is Growing' is a haunting little composition.
Mr Balthazar has collected a few critical comments
with regard to his vocal abilities. I rather like his voice.
It has a laconic but emotionally affecting quality which
suits the somewhat melancholy nature of the music.

'Finish Line' finds Ms Lucas singing along with him in
quietly efficient unison. It is one of the album's highlights.
Leon Beckenham's trumpet once again contributes significant
warmth to yet another uplifting anthemic composition.

Final track 'Good Morning Midnight' is elfin music;
full of tiny silver stars and moonlight. Simply magical.

I hope that Fanfarlo may be with us
for more than just a little while.

Highly Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fluke find, amazing music!!, 3 July 2010
By 
Nicola Golding (Noodles78) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
It was a complete fluke that I stumbled across this album but one that I feel was destined for me. I used to work with one of the guys that is in the band, I saw them support Snow Patrol but didn't really pay attention to them and heard them playing in Denny's Diner whilst on holiday in Florida. Then I knew that I had to have this album.

I want to say it's a grower but that's not the truth. When you first hear the album you'll think it sounds quite samey and maybe only remember one or two of the songs. For me it was Pilot which, after first hearing I just wanted to play again and again. After playing the album several times you realise that you know and love every song, the beautiful melodies sticking deep into your soul.

I already have this album, I bought it as a download on Itunes a while ago but now seeing it as a proper album I'm gonna buy it again, and not just for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great band, great songs, 21 April 2010
By 
H. A. Wierenga (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
Fanfarlo's record for me is a revelation. Good songs, wonderful and exciting arrangements and really an "album-album", not just a collection of songs, but a whole, which is so rare to find these days
My personal favourite is "Comets". The ideal 2010 spring record (although the record was released in 2009).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good album, 11 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
This is a very good album with a number of excellent tracks. They sound similar to Arcade Fire and Talking Heads in places but that is not a criticism, in fact they sound like these at their most accessible. If you enjoyed them supporting Mumford & Sons then I suggest you by the album, you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, 14 Mar 2010
By 
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
Bought this album on the way out from seeing them support Mumford and Sons at Wolverhampton, the gig was great and I have played the cd continuously since then, I really like it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Change of tempo please., 23 Nov 2009
By 
G. R. Biddle (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
Even though, as a rule, I'm a selective music shopper I picked this CD up on impulse. I've done this before and admittedly bought a few stinkers. I honestly hadn't heard anything about/by the band but going on instinct by the cover, thought I'd give it a go(Not a great way to shop but often an exciting one). When I put it on I was initially very impressed. If I were to compare them to someone, I'd say that there's a small touch of The Arcade Fire in there but it's a much poppier proposition. 3 or 4 songs had gone by and I thought I'd lucked out with a little gem. A few tracks later though and the general tempo and construction of each song hadn't seemed to change very much at all. Sustaining a whole album this way isn't plausible but there is still much to admire and it's definitely worth investigating.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best album of 2009, 23 Dec 2009
By 
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
Reservoir is simply genial. Since Arcade's Fire masterpiece "Funeral", that i didn't had the pleasure to listen to such fabulous album. Every track could be a hit single.

Mix Arcade Fire and Beirut, join some hapiness and you have Fanfarlo.

Best Track: Comets
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars likeable enough but I just can't love this...., 13 Mar 2010
By 
Mike J. Wheeler (Kingswinford, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
I'm still working out why it is I don't drool over this record. On the surface it has everything going for it. In terms of Professor Farnsworth's Cool-O-Meter® on Futurama this should be worth many MegaFonzies. Some fine singing, well-constructed songs, nice instrumentation and more than a nod at some of the finest bands of the last decade or so. But then isn't that it? When all's said and done this is pretty derivative. But.... that alone does not a bad album make.

If we were to be honest the list of 'truly' original, ground-breaking albums is not an extensive one. I'm quite happy listening to much that is derivative. At the moment, I'm listening a lot to the Rural Alberta Advantage who positively reek of Jeff Mangum and Neutral Milk Hotel. And nobody interested in decent music over the last couple of years would have failed to notice Fleet Foxes, Midlake or Bon Iver and whether you thought them brilliant or not (some I liked some I didn't) it would be an understatement to say that their musical styles were not wholly original. Currently wowing me are the wonderful First Aid Kit and any hint of 'the new' is entirely missing from their album.

So what's the problem? Ask yourself this. From which well does the essence of 'Reservoir' spring from? It's pretty obvious that the band have spent many hours listening to 'Gulag Orkestar', 'Funeral', 'Clap Your Hands Say Yeah' and 'In the Aeroplane over the Sea'. "So what..." you might say? Well the problem for me is this. My feeling is that the creators of those works wrote and played with little regard for whether what they were doing was 'in' or not. Their works to me feel honest, unironic and sincere. Now I'm sure Fanfarlo would claim different but the feeling I get when I listen to 'Reservoir' is that the band have sweated long and hard over how they can tick all the 'trendy' boxes. Don't get me wrong, 'Reservoir' is technically very adept, the songs are decent enough as is the singing, although the constant swooping up and down every line does get a trifle annoying. It's just that there is definitely something missing, a spark, spirit, soul whatever... Now if this was a landfill indie band then of course that kind of thing just doesn't matter but this is a band that sings in the style of Arcade Fire/Neutral Milk Hotel et al and the one thing that 'style' has that makes it so endearing is its almost naive honesty and a spirit within it that can certainly move me. Fanfarlo approach this on a couple of songs - 'Comets' and 'The Walls are Coming Down' spring to mind - but it's missing from so much of this album for me. Perhaps my view is coloured by having seen the band live where they really did fail to move me at all. Technically very adept and likeable enough but I just can't 'love' this one. But don't forget this is my opinion and I'd hope not to put you off listening for yourself (6.5/10).
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fave album at the mo..., 3 Aug 2009
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
This album gets better with every play.

Intelligent lyrics, great music and some beautiful orchestration. Anything that combines a regular band with violins, mandolin, glockenspiel, trumpets and banjo gets my vote.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 23 Jan 2010
By 
pjr (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Reservoir (Audio CD)
A friend of mine put me onto by sending me a link to "Luna", saying that I'd probably like this. I was intrigued enough to go out and get the album on the strength of that. Reviews compare their sound to that of Canada's coolest recent export Arcade Fire, and on the surface the comparison is a good measure of the band. Here you find strings, brass, a sense of the anthemic in the way the songs build and slightly mannered vocals.

Yet there is more than something of the copyist here. The band have written a collection of good songs, with some very strong melodies which avoid some of the histrioncis of the likes of Mumford & Sons. Here there is a blend of something rootsy and traditional with something of an indie sensiblilty. It's refreshing to hear people who are not afraid to show an understanding of the traditional.

From the lilting opener of "I'm A Pilot", to the drivingly anthemic "Luna" to the gentle build of comets and the tender "If It Is Growing" there is a full album's worth of great music here relplete with moments of both light and shade. Simon Balthazar's vocals may not suit everyone but if you can get through his slighlty dulcet tones then there is much to like. The band I am most reminded of isn't Arcade Fire, it's Beruit and, if like me, you've been beguiled by them in the past few years then I suspect that you'll absolutely love this band. Incidently the album also contains the best use of a musical saw since Mercury Rev.

This is a band who could easily be missed as their music is definately as difficult to categorise as are the likes of Mercury Rev, Arcade Fire, Beruit. Yet - if you have a passing liking for any of them - then this is a band worth giving a cursory listen to. Their charms are many and this a very worthwhile discovery.
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Reservoir
Reservoir by Fanfarlo (Audio CD - 2010)
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