Everyone seems pretty excited about Friendly Fires’ samba-tinged new track ‘Kiss Of Life’, the first fruits from their forthcoming, Paul Epworth-produced second album.
The standard line on Friendly Fires is that they’re disco-loving hedonists on a mission to airbrush indie a billion shades of day-glo, carnivalesque joy. Which is true up to a point, but it blinds people to a more subtle quality – the clear-eyed elegance of Ed Macfarlane’s lyrics.
His greatest talent is for capturing fleeting moments of euphoria and transcendence via unexpectedly arresting – and unusually detailed – lyrical close-ups.
‘Jump In The Pool’ found the vocalist peering at his “toes curled in the groove” of the poolside before diving in – a perfect evocation of anticipated pleasure.
In Photobooth’, Macfarlane captured a blink-and-miss-it moment of pure youthful exhilaration, waiting for the camera’s flash, with his girlfriend, “close enough to hear [her] breathe.”
‘Kiss Of Life’, meanwhile, revolves around another image of evanescent beauty: a line drawn in the sand, in the brief instant before it gets washed away.
Hence, in the accompanying video, the band get to cavort on a sun-scorched beach, and everyone duly files the song as a “summer smash” (and it probably will be, given that it’s on Radio 1’s A-list).
But there’s something else going on underneath, a riptide of fear beneath the euphoria: “I can feel the night crawl”. It’s hardly “Standing on the rooftops, having it”, is it?
The rest of the song bears this out. Amid the blazing sunshine there are clouds gathering ominously up ahead. But awareness of the collapse to come only makes the moment of excitement more intense: “A thousand butterflies, your lips to mine…”
‘Kiss Of Life’ is out August 31 – the Monday after Friendly Fires’ appearance at Reading and Leeds.