London duo want you to “have faith” in their debut album of heart-on-sleeve lyrics and soft rock tunes
Following the rampant success of The 1975, it’s natural that other bands will follow in their wake. London duo Ten Fé, named after the Spanish for “have faith”, are front of the queue.Recorded in Berlin, Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan’s debut has one eye on the radio-friendly soft rock of The 1975, the other on the on-the-road rock of cult US group The War On Drugs. And generally, it works. Sure, there are tracks on this wistful collection of electronic rock ’n’ roll that sound like drive-time classics, ripe for a Top Gear compilation pressed for Father’s Day. On occasion, though, the album hits a sumptuous sweet spot between the rugged emotion of Bruce Springsteen, the synthy swirl of Jagwar Ma and the lightness of The Cure.
Take standout song ‘Elodie’, with its rolling piano refrain, sighed backing vocals and yearning lyrics such as, “The feeling has gone / I know I’m no longer the one”. Those opening piano notes are irresistible, new yet familiar, as fragile as the bruised ego that the words convey. Elsewhere, ‘Twist Your Arm’ is an electronic banger, all pounding percussion and lilting slide guitar, before it contracts into a hand-clapped campfire singalong. By the time it’s back into its full-blooded, full-bodied chorus, you could be convinced that this intermittently thrilling album has come to offer you nothing short of salvation.
Yet the next track, ‘Another Way’, sounds like The 1975 but with the louche sex appeal and clever-clogs wordplay dialled down. A combination of washed-out keys and slinky guitar, it could be described as an anaemic cousin to ‘Paris’ by Matt Healy and pals. ‘In The Air’ sees Ten Fé claim that they’re “not through with love / But through the pain”, the kind of earnest statement that’s rife throughout the record.
If the band suffer from anything, it’s being too serious for their own good, but the sheer propulsive nature of the majority of the record makes it undeniably attractive. Their melodies are catchy as hell. You might not have heard of Ten Fé yet, but once you hear one of their better tracks, it’ll be hard to shake from your skull.