Friday, 23 November 2012

Friendly Fires - Why Don't You Answer?

Also, in the last few days Friendly Fires have released a new track, to promote their entry in the series Late Night Tales. For those who are maybe unfamiliar with that series, essentially an artist is given the chance to compile various tracks from their record collections to create a mix which they feel is at its most effective to listen to at night. Many electronic artists have entries in the series like MGMT, Metronomy and Groove Armada. It's also a traditional feature for artists to record a cover of a song exclusively for their set, hence why we have Why Don't You Answer. The original of Why Don't You Answer was by Eberhard Schoener with Sting on lead vocals and it was released in 1978. I have to say I really like the original although in some ways I think Friendly Fires version brings out more of the intended feeling of the song. In many ways I think Why Don't You Answer embodies the main objective of the Late Night Tales series. It has this dark and moody atmosphere to it and it just feels like something you'd listen to late at night, if that doesn't sound too ridiculous. Its a stark change in direction for Friendly Fires, and it's growing on me with each listen. The change in sound is just highlighted when you compare the sound here to their excellent sophomore album, 2011's Pala. Pala has an exuberant and heady disco oriented dance-pop sound whereas Why Don't You Answer see's them going in a much more experimental and darker direction. What I think makes the track is its deep bass-line, it adds a very dark layer to the track. The bass-line does sound fundamentally quite disco to me but its almost like they've taken their usual disco flourishes and approached it from a very different and morbid sounding angle. I guess I'd describe Why Don't You Answer as dark disco really. The lyrics of the song are as simple as the title suggest, the narrator is torturing themselves that their lover hasn't called. I think the lyrics suit Ed McFarlane's voice very well really. The constant stuttering synthesizer just makes the song sound rather haunting too I think. Its strange, because I'm enjoying this song more and more with every listen but I do prefer more traditional sounding Friendly Fires material. I'm not sure if I could take a whole album of songs in this vein. I've been left worried for Friendly Fires upcoming studio album, which I hope is released sometime next year after reading reports that they're looking to go down the experimental route with their third offering. Whilst artistic development is key I don't know if they shouldn't change what isn't broke. Pala is one of the best albums I've heard in recent times. Having said that, Why Don't You Answer? is a most interesting song that proves that maybe, just maybe they'd pull off an experimental electronic album better than I'd ever thought.

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