Friendly Fires: we’ve missed you. Not counting the St Albans trio’s 2012 ‘Late Night Tales’ compilation and their motorik 2014 two-track collaboration with The Asphodells, it’s been a whopping seven years since they last released an album. Now it’s 2018 and they’re back, baby.
A huge amount of weight accompanies their return, but ‘Love Like Waves’ shimmies in without a hitch, the band nonchalantly resurfacing as if from an expert free-dive. Carrying directly on from where they left off – the tropical indie-funk of 2011’s ‘Pala’ – the lead single from album three begins with carefree steel drums, a heady synth line, and as danceable a rhythm section as ever. Since the days of ‘Jump in The Pool’ a decade ago, Friendly Fires have been all about fun, and that’s still the case here.
“Creativity can be an ephemeral thing,” the band wrote on Facebook back in November, explaining their lengthy absence. “Sometimes ideas flow, as does the confidence to develop them into finished pieces of work. Other times it’s a struggle but you battle through it, and during some even more difficult times it feels like nothing comes at all.”
The period of the latter feeling has come to an end, and any signs of struggle are entirely hidden from view. As the effortless chorus fades into a bridge, a breathy Ed Macfarlane sings: “We can dive deeper, if we share breath underwater… love like this is hard to find“.
Tonight the band play their first headline show in more than 18 months at south London’s O2 Academy Brixton. If there’s anything like the energy levels on display here, it’s going to be an absolute treat.