It’s been a long time coming for Fickle Friends. A very long time, and an absolute age for their dedicated fanbase. In the four years (yes, four years) since they dropped their first track, the band have released a dozen singles, not counting a re-release of debut single ‘Swim’. Now – finally – the Brighton five-piece are imminently set to unveil their album You Are Someone Else.
To start, fans of Fickle Friends have hears this album before, with no less than seven songs of the track listing having already been released. But when a band produces scintillating pop of such quality, listening to a collection like this is akin to diving into a Greatest Hits. With so many tracks we know and love at their disposal, it is forgivable that 2016’s ‘Cry Baby’ made the cut. ‘Brooklyn’ hangs on, its bittersweet blend of 80s pop bringing a brief touch of sadness to a predominantly high-octane outing. Earlier effort ‘Say No More’ continues to pack a punch, whilst the comparatively archaic ‘Swim’ lives to see another day, its intimate, summery sounds and jaunty riffing making it perfectly clear why it persists in being both a band and fan favourite.
Over the past twelve months however, the fivesome have boldly mixed up their sound, eschewing much of their retro-pop charm of their earlier efforts for a strongly synthesised, chart-ready sound at the risk of potentially alienating those who fell in love early on. ‘Hello Hello’ veers a little too far into this territory, opening with throbbing synths and the highly auto-tuned vocal of Natassja Shiner; all is forgiven however when they drop an absolute corker of a chorus. Hot on its heels is ‘Paris’, which brings a much needed subtlety with its whispers of longing.
In comparison to ‘Hello Hello’, ‘Hard To Be Myself’ holds a little more restraint, bouncy electronics playing at the chorus as opposed to encompassing all of the space. Thankfully ‘Bite’ – the first new album track – is a true floor stomper, channelling the dance rhythms of the 80s without drenching itself in too much nostalgia, similarly so the Alphabet-reminiscent ultra-pop of ‘Rotation’ and the echoes of Haim in ‘She’.
By the time you reach the end you realise that every song could be a single, so adept Fickle Friends have become at crafting the perfect pop song. As with some of the best pop tunes that survive the test of time, the tracks of You Are Someone Else unabashedly delve into confessional accounts of emotion. “This album mostly talks about the feeling that you don’t fit in your own life, [of] forever craving something else. I felt like I was stuck in a perpetual nightmare of bad relationships and worry for so long and this collection of songs kinda pulled me out of that,” said Shiner in a recent press release.
“We always wanted to make a record that made people dance and think at the same time. If any of these songs help anyone feel cool, or strong or even just less alone then we’ll have achieved what we wanted.” With that in mind, Fickle Friends have certainly achieved everything that they set out to. It’s time for them to check ‘perfect debut album’ of their list.
Fickle Friends’ debut album You Are Someone Else is out March 16th.
The band head out on tour in October. Dates below:
19/10 London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
20/10 Cambridge, Junction 1
24/10 Glasgow, The Garage
25/10 Newcastle, Northumbria Institute
26/10 Birmingham, O2 Academy 2