Los Fancy Free, Never Greens Vol. 1

Los Fancy Free, Never Greens Vol. 1

Finding the balance between accessible and original isn’t easy, but Los Fancy Free have managed to do it. Every song on their new album, Never Greens Vol. 1, is instantly listenable and holds your attention to the very end — which is impressive, considering their six-minute-long opening track, “The Na├»ve Heat.” Just don’t think of this as easy listening; there are enough pounding, in-your-face drums and fuzzed-out guitars that you won’t walk away without a slightly accelerated heart rate. “Beatle suit & purple boots” is especially fierce, filled with heavy, trippy guitars, and fervent screams.

Comparing this to their previous albums, it’s easy to see an improvement. Early Los Fancy Free albums are done completely by singer/guitarist Martin Thulin, but this time around he teamed up with a solid group, Julio and Bona Navarrete and Carlos Kaza. They’ve helped him to polish up the sound and cover over the rough bits, and together they’ve come up with something that’s both sophisticated and really, really fun. And the values of drama and adrenaline aren’t lost on these guys — just watch a video of them live. They know how to put on a show.

The first thing that attracted me to this band was their interesting background. They live and play in Mexico City (where they apparently have a pretty big following), and Thulin sings both in English and in Spanish. He grew up in Mexico in a small Mennonite community. His sister introduced him to Gary Numan and the Human League, and later to his very first synthesizer. He and his family moved to Sweden when he was young, but after finishing high school he moved back to Mexico to rock out as Los Fancy Free. (He still goes back to Sweden every summer to visit his family, though.)

Never Greens Vol. 1 is hard to categorize. Each track delves into different styles, from pop to psychedelic rock to slightly punkish, social commentary kind of stuff. They’ve cut out a lot the electro elements of their previous albums, but don’t worry, kids, they’re still hipster-cool. They’ve just picked up some psychedelic and good old rock-n’-roll influences along the way.

The themes that tie the whole album together are Martin Thulin’s bold and dynamic vocals, as well as a skill for creative melodies and song forms. They’ve been compared to both the Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand, and while I can agree, I would say that they differ in a couple of important ways. First, although their songs are catchy and sometimes danceable, Los Fancy Free don’t pour all their effort into one guitar riff or foot-tapping chorus — you can tell that every part of a song gets as much attention as the next. Second, they aren’t afraid to experiment a little with tempo and song structure. “Eumerica,” one of my favorite tracks on the album, is miles away from your standard four-chord pop song structure, but somehow is still catchy. How do they do that? My best guess is talent.

In short, Los Fancy Free have the courage and the style to attract attention, and the talent and creativity to keep it.

BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Monday, May 24th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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