Sat 1st June
It has been three years since Friendly Fires released their self-titled debut album. For an album entirely recorded in Mr and Mrs Macfarlane’s garage, it made a serious impact, selling over 200,000 copies and picking up a fistful of Brit Award and Mercury nominations along the way. The band’s appeal spanned everyone from indie kids to clubbers to the highest strata of the fashion world – the band were handpicked by Gucci to soundtrack a worldwide campaign, covering Depeche Mode’s Strangelove for an advert created by acclaimed director Frank Miller (Sin City, The Spirit).
Most importantly they have watched their global audience grow exponentially as their live shows become ever more spectacular. Two sold out dates at London’s 2500 capacity Kentish Town Forum found the band transforming a normally rather drab venue into a Brazilian carnival. Friendly Fires’ all-night club events sprang up where the trio would be joined by guests like Hot Chips’ Joe Goddard, Danilo Plessow’s Detroit-centric Motor City Drum Ensemble and Kompakt Records boss, Michael Mayer.
So in October 2009 Friendly Fires began to piece together the ideas and themes that would become their new record, Pala. They began in a basement studio in Shoreditch called, with admirable candour, The Basement, but London’s ever-present distractions kept them from really focusing, so in January 2010 they moved operations back to their original home, Ed’s parent’s garage in St Alban’s.
As soon as the band let go and began to work “bizarre hours” Pala began to take shape. The shifting, shuffling Chimes took serious shape, as did the Afro-beat pop explosion of Pull Me Back To Earth. The brilliantly frenetic True Love soon appeared and was, with its slap-bass and shimmery guitars, clearly and immediately, a very Friendly Fires sort of song.