It's appropriate that the first song Fenech Soler released from their recently released album Zilla
is the bouncy single, "Kaleidoscope". Ben and Ross Duffy whip up brightly colored, electro-pop concoctions that seem to make everything feel just a bit lighter. It's a single that's as pleasant as can be, complete with a sticky, euphoric hook that'll bounce around in the brain for days. When we heard it, we knew we had to catch up with the brothers Duffy again. Perhaps you remember our acoustic session from a couple years back
When the boys arrived for their session they were all smiles. Gear was in place, the cameras were rolling, it was great. Until it wasn't. Sadly, one of the band's amps fizzled out and we were forced to put things off a few days. It was frustrating, but they did make their way back to Sunset Park a couple days later, awarding everyone's patience with a magical performance of songs.
With an extra keyboard player in tow, Ben and Ross swirled catchy vocals, infectious beats, and shining guitar riffs together. They of course strolled through the aforementioned "Kaleidoscope", plus second single "Conversations", from Zilla
. They also dusted off "Somebody", from their 2014 release Rituals
. Watching the group transform what are essentially club bangers into something so intimate was impressive, proving Fenech Soler are a band that make songs sound enticing no matter what form they take.
Glastonbury 2011. As Fenech-Solers set draws to a close in a packed tent filled with people who knew and adored their songs, the bands four members experience a flood of emotions. Fenech-Soler had reached a point that all young bands dream about- huge label backing, play-listed at BBC Radio One, a sold out tour and a premiere set at UKs most storied festival. This set marked not just the precipice of major success but also, the beginning of their enforced break as a band. Lead singer Ben had been diagnosed with cancer. Incredibly, Bens diagnosis repeated that of his brother Ross, guitarist in the band, many years before. After the fest, Ben returned home for an operation and then three rounds of chemotherapy in as many months, which then required several weeks of recuperation. Thanks to Bens immediate treatment, he was eventually given a clean bill of health and the band set out to head back to work. A slot opening for Phoenix and Miike Snow on an Australian tour brought the band back together in the live setting for the first time. Is anyone still going to care about the band? recalls bassist Daniel Soler of the bands collective fear before the shows. Their nerves were settled when they walked on stage and were greeted by a sea of faces and a crowd singing along. That reaction really gave us the drive to push things even further. It felt like the start of a new era.
Inspired by the brilliance of their touring partners during the Australian tour, Fenech-Soler turned such devastating news into a positive as they focused on improving as a live band. After Bens recovery, Glastonbury 2013 marked their UK return. A show that would prove to be their resurrection and they celebrated their resurgence with three sets at the festival. We wanted to make this right because we know that it could so easily have been taken away from us, affirms drummer Andrew. We wanted to put something out that we were really happy with because we know how fragile it is both the industry and anyone involved. It could easily end at any time.
Determined to build on the foundations of their debut album campaign, Glastonbury was the initial spark that ignited their creativity to deliver their second album Rituals (released late 2013 ex US), a euphoric concoction of pulsating energy born from their dance roots mixed with a new found desire to push the pop elements of their sound to the fore. Their distinct niche is electronic-based music delivered with a beating human heart. I think the pop element is certainly something that wasnt calculated, but also something that we didnt decide to turn our back on, begins vocalist Ben Duffy. For us, its been about paying attention to what makes a good song. We havent been afraid to make a pop record. Its about connecting with people on a universal level while remaining true to our roots.
Those roots were initially firmly established when the Northamptonshire quartet first came to the attention of Daft Punk collaborator Alan Braxe in 2009, who subsequently signed the group to his retro-futurist Parisian label Vulture to issue their debut single 'The Cult of Romance. Subsequent releases 'Lies and 'Stop & Stare on the forward-thinking independent electronic label Moda only accentuated their growing reputation, as did their appearance on a Kitsune compilation the patronage of Groove Armada who took Fenech-Soler on tour and and had the band guest on their single Paper Romance.
With a stalled UK campaign, the band was unable to tour in the US properly. Their first release in the states will be an EP out on SO Recordings/ Caroline this March. The EP serves as an introduction to the band. The compilation features a Cult of Romance re-mix compliments of super-producer and early supporter Alan Braxe; an Alex Metric re-mix of Lies; their mega-hit Stop and Stare and the recently released dance track In Our Blood. In addition to this first EP, the band will have a special Record Sore Day Release in April featuring remixes by Yuksek, Gemini, Chainsmokers and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Their full album is due this summer. Having overcome a multitude of challenges, finally releasing their music in the US signifies the completion of Fenech-Solers rebirth. This time they can control their own destiny.