now playing: fanfarlo
  • TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2010

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Over the last few years, there have been no shortage of indie/folk outfits that favor music seeped in antiquated narratives, composition, and instrumentation. Arcade Fire, Beirut, and the Decemberists immediately come to mind, as they propelled themselves to stratospheric heights, courtesy of the kind of epic, song fare peppered in surprisingly classical/traditional roots. If we had to wager on the next band to accomplish a similar sort of feat, we'd go all in with Fanfarlo...hands down. Consider yourself warned.

A quick look at the band reveals an obvious obsession with the past. Searching the band's name produces origins having something to do with a lesser known, 19th century work of French symbolist Baudelaire. The band and its' principal songwriter, Simon Balthazar, also bring a variety of past lives to light on their fantastic, debut album Reservoir, including stories of an obscure English journalist ("Harold T. Wilkins, Or How To Wait For A Very Long Time") and an exorcist favoring, Italian Monk named Pellegrino Ernetti ("The Walls Are Coming Down"). To match their music in the live arena, the band sport buttoned-up stage-ware (well, sort of), drape their surroundings in old tattered sea-flags, and pull on a wide-variety of old instruments over the course of a performance.

Knowing all of this we ventured to Philadelphia last December to catch the band in action. Yes; we too found Balthazar to be a bit of an old soul. But this wasn't music merely meant for blowing dust off of like some forgotten antique. It's timeless and enthusiastic, traveling a definitive arc trough orchestral crests and somber falls. Not surprisingly, an eager foot stomping, handclapping kind of audience would greet and gobble it up all night long. - David Pitz

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Fanfarlo: Live at Johnny Brenda's

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