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ALBUM REVIEW: Fenech-Soler, Rituals

Fenech-Soler-Rituals-Deluxe-Version-2013-1200x1200TITLE: Rituals
BAND: Fenech-Soler
LABEL: Warner Records
RELEASED: September 30th 2013

Northampton electropop band Fenech-Soler have already had a hell of a year and they’re now about to unleash their second album. It follows on from their 2010 self-titled debut album and their promotional singles All I Know, Magnetic and Last Forever. With infectious cheer and plenty of pretty patterns depicted in their sound, they’re a band who appeal not only to hardcore party-goers but the chilled, thoughtful souls.

I’ve featured their videos on the blog before but I thought it would be cool to finally take a look at their music in depth, so the new album was a perfect excuse to do that. It kicks off with Youth, a bouncing siren and tribal theme with the funky dance rhythm moving in swiftly. Ethereal vocals accompany it, which gives it a bit more interest than a straight club anthem. A catchy refrain mixes with the electronic soundscape before it peters out into a thumping club ending.

Fenech SolerNaturally, electropop in the style that Fenech-Soler have cultivated is always going to be popular on the clubbing scene. In Our Blood, Somebody and Glow all have sections which are much better for letting your hair down to on a Saturday night as opposed to sitting and listening to. However, all of these tracks also have some resonating vocals which are sung in a rippling, distorted fashion which is something that certainly sets it apart from typical dance outfits.

Visiting the pop rock genre, All I Know is the perfect catchy track for singing along to. It reminded me of the work of Cobra Starship who know how to merge the electronica tricks with straight-up melodic singing. A catchy rhythm and chorus are key components for a hit song and All I Know is just one song on this album that has both. Another is Last Forever, which I’m still singing despite it being the fifth song on an album of twelve. Due to its toe-tapping beat and melodic, echoing vocal, it’s probably the most well-rounded track on the album.

It’s not all high-energy as seen on Fading and Two Cities. The former features chiming synths and a simple drum with falling vocals. It’s perfect for chilling out in a relaxed atmosphere and as a result, I think it would do well as a single. Two Cities has a more downbeat rhythm than what we’re used to from them. Eerie wailing vocals and electronic slides create an atmosphere that isn’t there on the other tracks. It’s an interesting song that will lull you to sleep due to its laid-back and simple nature. Maiyu is another interesting case. Ethereal magical chimes create a whimsical eastern feel which combine with electronic bounces to provide us with something very different. Just to throw us off the track even further, a jazz element is definitely in the electronica which hasn’t been seen before and is never seen again.

The two short snippets of music that give the album its name, Ritual I and Ritual II are welcoming interludes to the main action. The first reminded me of Ellie Goulding’s Anything Could Happen, due its bright synths and resonating atmospheric vocal. The second has quite an aggressive tone with a bouncing electronic and a rising piano line. However, the floaty vocal softens it and the space-age ending allows it to drift off into the atmosphere. Each evoking a different emotion, the Rituals summarise Fenech-Soler’s current age perfectly.

Rituals is an album which has some really lovely sounds on it. Patterns depicted by metallic, electronic tones galore, a beautiful atmospheric vocal and the odd twist. It’s definitely one to get a party started but at the same time, you can sit and ponder over the intricate pictures that the music paint and make you own decision about what it all means.

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