Artists of the Week: Friendly Fires + The xx
This week, Vapor is featuring a double-whammy of musical talent from two critically acclaimed British acts: Friendly Fires and The xx. It is rare that such a combination appears on the same bill, however both bands will be participating in the Nylon Winter Music Tour, gracing the stage of Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre this coming Wednesday.
Both groups have plenty of indie credibility; Friendly Fires’ self-titled debut release was nominated this past year for the coveted Mercury Prize, an award that honours the year’s best album from the UK or Ireland. The xx landed position #6 on the NME ‘The Future 50’ list of music industry innovators, and was rated an exceptional 8.7/10 by the staff of Pitchfork.
Lush pop textures mixed with dance, punk and melodic elements.
About Friendly Fires:
“Everything starts with a groove – an insistent clatter like a bullet train rippling through an empty station. Into its slipstream they fling vintage synth peals and jagged ninja-guitar stars. Edd Gibson might have been known to attack his axe with a drill onstage but Friendly Fires aren’t angular, much less angry: they know when to unleash almighty endorphin rushes alongside the ghosts of dreamgaze bands like Slowdive and Cocteau Twins.”
– Sam Richards, NME
“The surprise is their sophistication; like Klaxons, they’re just fluorescent enough to keep club kids interested, but their real commitment is to sparkling, modern pop. The album is full of it, every track pulsing and clattering around an electronic heart and almost never exceeding three minutes. Singer Ed Macfarlane’s voice rarely rises above a blissed-out murmur except when the whooshing party anthems Lovesick and Paris move him to unfurl a falsetto. Lyrically, they veer between odes to suburbia, such as Photobooth, and dreaming big dreams (“One day we’ll live in Paris”); either way, they couldn’t be more likable.”
— Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian UK
About The xx:
“But xx is nervy and self-contained, the product of a new band thinking a lot harder about topics– sex, composition, volume– than we are accustomed to new bands thinking. It is so fully formed and thoughtful that it feels like three or four lesser, noisier records should have preceded it. The xx didn’t need a gestation period, though xx is nuanced, quiet, and surprising enough that you might.”
— Andrew Gaerig, Pitchfork
“There is a lightness of touch at play that gives the XX a sophistication beyond their years.”
— Sarah Boden, The Guardian UK