Review: Friendly Fires – Inflorescent
Just how long will Friendly Fires take to update their Wikipedia page following this third album? A full eight years after 2011’s Pala, the band are still referred to as ‘indie rock’, but Inflorescent will – or should – change this, and not just because it’s their first for a major. It’s instead because the record’s as indie as Princess Diana, and belongs as much to the late 1980s as she did. In fact, sometimes it’s difficult to believe that Inflorescent is a comeback, not a flashback: Kiss And Rewind sounds so like early Wham! it threatens to break into Club Tropicana, and Silhouettes, too, with its unabashed “ba ba bas” and bassline nods to Frankie’s Relax, sounds like George Michael dusted off his disco rig.
There’s clearly nothing wrong with this at all, but – like Heaven Let Me In’s functional, tried and tested mid-song breakdown – opening track Can’t Wait Forever’s synth horns and calls to “shake your body down” feel nonetheless a little bit forced.
Lack Of Love’s acid squiggles and club tropes will work on a dancefloor, and Cry Wolf’s subdued soul offers breathing space before Almost Midnight’s hectic Hi-NRG, but genuinely fresh ideas are in limited supply. Hell, while we’re at it, Sleeptalking even sounds not unlike Jamiroquai. Still, as poet Ocean Vuong writes, “only the future revisits the past”.