5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Many Hands Make Light Work,
This review is from: Rooms Filled With Light (Audio CD)
Simon Balthazar and his band of merry minstrels, notwithstanding lineup changes
since their 2009 debut 'Reservoir', have come up with a cracking second showing
with 'Rooms Filled With Light'. There is a sense of purpose and drama in these
twelve tracks which deserves to win them new fans if given the exposure it deserves.
Mr Balthazar knows how to spin a good tune and has the kind of voice (a very good
one) which quickly gets under your skin and stays there pulsing away well after
the last echoes of the recording fade away into the night and well on into the
following morning. The arrangements are clear and crisp and lucid and make good
use of strings and brass to augment the confident organic structure of the whole.
Take a composition like 'Tunguska' : old-fashioned in a wholly reassuring way, it
delivers a simple sixties-flavoured melody and nails it to the mast with conviction
and a total absence of irony. It's a wonderfully soppy and well-rounded invention.
So too opening gambit 'Replicate' which heightens our anticipation with its pulsing
violins and chirpy fairground organ decorations; when the chorus finally unfolds
we are swept away by the beguiling owlish vocal accents and Mr Balthazar's well-
focused central performance. The single 'Deconstruction' romps along like a happy
puppy chasing leaves in the wind and 'Tightrope' shows off the rhythm section
(terrific bass playing here!) and the band's capacity for ribald vocal harmonies
to fine effect. 'Bones' is about as good as a good song gets; a resounding anthem
which packs real emotional clout and the melancholy 'A Flood' which comes a close second
as top track. The tiny coda 'Everything Resolves' brings the project to a magical chiming close.
I loved every minute of it and was left wanting more. Fanfarlo are a very fine band indeed.