reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
“I feel a frost in the summertime”, sings Fake Laugh at the start of Ice, the second song into his collaboration with old college friend, producer Tarquin. How did he know that the album would be released in one of Britain’s worst summers in ages? The song, a single release from the pair’s debut album in partnership, is an accurate guide to what lies in store for listeners.
Their friendship was light to start with, a fleeting acquaintance while studying in Sussex, but here they hook up with far greater intent, releasing a few singles and picking up endorsements from the likes of DJ Annie Mac in the process.
What’s the music like?
Engaging and a bit quirky – but essentially some very listenable electro pop. There is a sound musical chemistry between the two, together with songwriting that comes alive in the lyrical department. Original Sin is a fine example of this, its opening lyrics set to chugging clarinets.
In contrast, We Ride holds its poise over a crunchy backing, while Gloom On The Dancefloor is an affecting, stately torch song. The vocals from Fake Laugh are a standout feature too, floating elegantly on Slow while beautifully layered on So Good.
Does it all work?
Yes, providing the listener doesn’t take their electro pop too seriously. There is no padding to the songs, the album over relatively quickly – but there is more than enough substance for it to survive a second and a third play without running out of steam.
Is it recommended?
Yes. This album offers an original approach, with songs that are a bit different to the over polished fodder heard on mainstream radio at the moment. Fake Laugh & Tarquin are on to something here, and it is to be hoped their collaboration doesn’t stop at one album.