Single Review: Friendly Fires – Love Like Waves

By on Wednesday, 11th April 2018 at 12:00 pm

Good things come to those who wait. Or so the saying goes. If you believe those words to be true, then us Friendly Fires fans should have been in for a treat with their latest single. The St. Albans trio completed a trio of gigs last week, culminating in a triumphant sold-out show last Thursday at London Brixton Academy. Naturally, expectations for their return to stage, as well as to our ears, were understandably high. The same day, the band released ‘Love Like Waves’, which has thrown me for a loop. Having followed them through their first two albums – their 2008 Mercury Prize-nominated, self-titled debut and 2011’s ‘Pala’ with a parrot festooned on its front – I’ve heard from truly great things from them, as well as some missteps.

The new single, unfortunately, feels like the latter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to hear its tropical beats and revel in its lazy hedonism. There’s a beauty to the simplicity, I suppose. Hand over your tenner to me now, there’s going to be a lot of dad-dancing to this tune at a festival near you this summer. The crescendo building towards the end is predictable. The best thing about the track are the vocal delivery: Ed Macfarlane gives his vocal cords a good workout, flitting from falsetto to regular singing voice. In clips of their shows last week that I’ve seen so far, things haven’t changed since the those heady, Mercury nom days: Macfarlane is still the centre of activity onstage, and without his charisma, this song just wouldn’t work. The lyrics are a slick balance of repeated, easy to sing along to phrases and innuendo that most probably have missed.

All taken together, ‘Love Like Waves’ is their best attempt at creating a new summertime guilty pleasure, probably best enjoyed with a fruity cocktail with an umbrella in it. Friendly Fires’ main goal is to get bodies out on the dance floor, and that goal hasn’t changed since they got us to ‘Jump in the Pool’ and dance with the ‘Skeleton Boy’. If you consider ‘Love Like Waves’ in that context, they’ve succeeded. If you think too hard beyond that, you’ll be disappointed.


‘Love Like Waves’, Friendly Fires’ newest material in 7 years, is out now on Polydor Records. We’ve written quite a bit about Friendly Fires over the years, and you can read through the entire archive here on TGTF through here.

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