Fanfarlo – Rooms Filled With Light

While not a failure of a follow-up album the second album for London-based indie-pop group Fanfarlo ultimately falls shy of capturing the potency of their debut Reservoir.

Among the finest impressions Rooms Filled With Light has to offer arrives immediately. The majestic Replicate shimmers with a nervous excitement, icy droplets underscoring an urgent string section. While the opener ignites with a beautifully buoyant chorus, Replicate tends to tease a greater, more euphoric release than that which is actually realised. Listeners stand to feel cheated with a song only half as richly rewarding as it might have been. Nevertheless, this is a song to return to time again, as well as a promising first impression of Fanfarlo’s second effort.

Unfortunately, the band struggle to match their good form, with only random patches of Rooms Filled With Light capturing the same value of Replicate. In contrast with the opener, Deconstruction opts for an all-cylinders-firing indie rock approach familiar to the Fanfarlo canon. While not awful by any means, it’s the kind of track that requires an abnormal rate of replay to move beyond the ambivalence it initially conjures. In that way, Deconstruction offers a vital clue as to the nature of Rooms Filled With Light.

The album is plagued with hollow melodramatic indie-rock posturing, Fanfarlo’s grandeur occasionally found lacking. Rarely is there anything here as immediately charming as the material featured upon Reservoir. This is the kind of album that will demand replays to reveal its splendours and its up to listeners to opt in or out.

The challenge here is sifting through Rooms Filled With Light to dig up the band’s best work. The lulls are certainly apparent, citing Shiny Things and the needless instrumental filler of Everything Turns. In terms of key tracks, the second half the superior portion of Rooms Filled With Light. Rambunctious brassy squeals pierce throughout the stand-out, black-sheep-inclusion Tunguska, intensifying the band’s mellow swagger. A heavenly flutter of harp-strings announces Tightrope, a dynamite bassline emerging the song’s delectable centrepiece. Similarly to Tunguska, Tightrope emerges a playful, fun and enthusiastic venture that offers an intriguing redefinition of the indie-pop group.

Rooms Filled With Light is not necessarily a failed follow-up. It has a lot to offer, demonstrating at the very least the evolution of an extremely talented outfit. It charts their progress, showcasing liberal experimentation with new sounds, ideas and textures. However, it is also true that Rooms Filled With Light lacks the strength of its predecessor, demanding patience and perseverance.