Saturday, March 6, 2010

Megan’s Top 25 of 2009: #1 - Fanfarlo

For some reason, I found this the hardest record to write about, despite the depths of my love for it. Go figure. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the first time through Fanfarlo’s glorious Reservoir I was literally rendered speechless. And I still am, somewhat. But I’ll see what I can do to try to convince you of the merits of this particular album numero uno.

Sometimes, very rarely, I happen upon a record that is so beautiful that it just about breaks my heart. It takes me places most records can’t even dream of, makes my heart swell to the point of bursting, and in some instances may just cause some swooning. For my money, the most painfully exquisite album of the year was Reservoir, and it stands alone at the top of this countdown, looking down from the heights of near-perfection. From the first note to the last, Reservoir had me in total aural bliss, enraptured by the beauty that was gracing my eardrums. It’s very high praise, I know, and yet totally deserved.

There’s a balance on Reservoir that makes it so appealing, an equal amount of vulnerable fragility and confident strength. Fanfarlo plays both sides perfectly, both on the record as a whole and even in individual songs. In a way, Fanfarlo makes music in the vein of countrymen Doves and Editors (and at times with shades of those darling Canadians of the Arcade Fire), though their songs have a more natural, slightly less epic feel to them. They are no less stately, no less powerful, but are done on a (slightly) smaller sonic scale. There’s something rather intimate about this collection of songs on Reservoir, at times it almost feels as if the songs are a tender secret being told to you in the strictest of confidence. On the surface, Reservoir is an album full of kid-glove delicate songs, but of course all is not quite as it seems. There’s more than meets the ear on this record. But even in a song like “Comets,” where the lyrical content might remind you of one of the horrifying scenes out of “Fahrenheit 451” (“Kick in the doors/and burn the books/try to forget”), the music is splendidly sweeping, often enhanced with plucky brass and haunting strings.

Crafting songs like these is truly an art. It might sound easy, based on how sublime an album this is, but Fanfarlo is to be commended. Reservoir is a seriously statuesque record, and Fanfarlo has definitely earned its place as number 1.

mp3: Drowning Men (Fanfarlo from Reservoir)

1 comment:

Matt W. said...

And we only had to wait 2+ months for your 2009 number 1! ;)