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If it tells you anything at all about the show, my friend that came with me didn’t say a word the entire time: except to whisper really loudly during a break between songs, “I feel so stoned,” (she wasn’t stoned).

But Fanfarlo’s ambient rock made us feel that way, all dreamy and calm and bright. Vocalist and token Swede (because every indie rock band needs a Scandinavian to up its street cred) Simon Balthazar pauses to tell us that this next track is all about cells living in harmony and the Universe coalescing and all of us coexisting. I look back on to a sea of shining, smiling faces and I can’t help but snort-giggle, because, honestly, that’s not something you hear every day. Nor are the lyrics that contemplate humanity’s impending demise, influenced by Buddha and cosmology. My friend and I, though, were literally high off life, and if that isn’t a damn compliment I’m not really sure what is.

The band’s newly minted 10-track record “Let’s Go Extinct” is probably what would happen if Yo La Tengo and Sufjan Stevens had a bastard child–there’s trumpet + ’80s rock + experimental Celtic sounds + ambient synths–but it doesn’t sound formulaic. If you weren’t completely familiar with Fanfarlo’s discography, there’s little chance you would’ve been able to differentiate which songs belonged to which of their three albums during the live set. To me, that’s a good thing: it means they found a sound that works and are milkin’ it until the very end. It works. Fanfarlo works. Even the Latin flair that sometimes seems like a non-sequitur works. In fact, I ran straight home and downloaded “Cell Song,” “I’m A Pilot,” and “Landlocked.”

The whole affair felt like a low-key jam session in someone’s basement, but in the best way possible. It was a straightforward, non-fussy, sincere and honest extension of the arm into their world. If Fanfarlo were a cult, consider me joined.


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  1. Ghosts
  2. Life In The Sky
  3. Deconstruction
  4. Cell Song
  5. I’m a Pilot
  6. Bones
  7. Luna
  8. Vostok, I Know You are Waiting
  9. Comets
  10. Tunguska
  11. Landlocked
  12. A Distance
  13. Harold T. Wilkins, Or How To Wait For A Very Long Time
  14. Let’s Go Extinct
  15. The Walls are Coming Down