To start off with, if you have pre-ordered this album on iTunes you will have got the track ‘Somebody free’ with it instantly. It’s the best track on the album you won’t have heard before and Fenech-Soler have already released a hand full of songs from this album dating back to ‘All I know’ which appeared on the internet at the back end of last year.
Brief (very) recent history lesson over… fear not, you haven’t wasted your coin. When a band puts out a fairly interesting debut, which FS did (three years ago now) that difficult second album can often go one of two ways. Either the very interesting approach which often ends in something sounding horribly messy and confused or in Fenech-Soler’s case the full-blown pop approach because there’s no doubt Fenech-Soler had pop potential.
Rituals is the latter achieving its goal rather admirably. It may not top many ‘Album of the year’ lists but it will top many ‘Top 25 most played’ iTunes lists. It’s an enjoyable ride and despite being 50 minutes long it flies by in a flash.
‘All I Know’ has that definitive pop sound which is brilliant, followed by ‘In Our Blood’ an epic affair standing more proudly than its predecessor. And there lies the only real downside to Rituals (If you’re content with many huge bouncy choruses you’ll have no qualms) it’s that the band may have lost a bit of identity. There are superbly crafted efforts, disposable ‘pop’ tag tracks like ‘Maiyu’ and ‘Somebody’ have so much going for them, the latter having a much darker and sombre tone about it while the former sort of ghosts along atop a thudding bass line.
Rituals is a smart affair and a smart ear will notice that there is more to it than the immediate pop sound that first greets you, bolstered with a collection of smartly laced synths, drums and rumbles that are much cleverer than some of the initial singles.
Fenech-Soler have put together here an addictive and intelligent sophomore effort but most of all they do not sound as if they are anywhere close to running out of ideas.
Rituals is released on September 16th and will be supported by an autumn tour, for dates visit www.fenechsoler.co.uk