I’ll just get right to the point; this is a brilliant album – possibly as close as you can get to a perfect record of indie-pop from top to tail.
Far Away From Fiji have a few EPs under their belt but unlike so many other bands attempting to tap into the vibe of ‘dream-pop’ and tug on the heartstrings of love-torn youth, it seems they were born almost fully formed and feeding on the solid food of their heroes that blazed a path and set the bar for bands of our generation. There doesn’t seem to be any teething problems, false starts or spanners in the cogs: they know exactly what they are doing and they are good at it.
The record opens with the hazy and dreamy “All is Done”, setting the tone with strummy guitars, laid back vocals and a bit of a mission statement or challenge in the refrain- “all is done and we’re not looking back…” probably the most apt but damning phrase that you can apply to pop music in this day in age. The Fiji boys though still manage to find some fresh road in the over-trodden world of Indie music though. “Closing Time”, which follows is another hazy ballad to the lazy, weary and disaffected. Even though the album starts off with a slow tempo, there is still a wonderful sense of tension and build in the music that makes you lean into the tracks, rather than hover over the ‘skip’ button. “In the Morning” furthers the dream-like pace with beautiful acoustic arpeggios and a jaunty counter melody with an electric 12-string – “Don’t be ashamed, because I’m with you…tonight” is a beautiful refrain, I envision it being whispered into someone’s ear as that cold Danish morning creeps in through the bedroom window.
If the first trio of songs are the “dream”, then the Motorik style number that follows, “Time to Pretend” is the awakening into day. Its three minute subtle pounding of droplets of sunshine are dangerously close to a proper fist-pumping indie anthem, without anything exploding or the ass falling out of it like a mainstream pop song. Again, these guys show perfect pacing and know neither to blow their load, nor spook the horse musically, throwing the listener off for an early payday. Furthering the sense of awakening is another beautiful acoustic laden ballad – “Multitudes”, the album’s ‘namesake’ if you will (‘the time is now’…is in the refrain). Is a very simple notion, well put together and with an even sweeter feel than what came before. I can’t help thinking also; damn, this is recorded SO well! There are just crazily subtle layers of very simple music, but it just sounds so damn pro. I like lo-fi stuff as much as the next guy, but the whole production value here just really feeds my music boner too.
“Everything Is True” is the closest though we come on the album to the band belligerently wearing their influences on their sleeves a la Beach House – complete with a slight touch of slide guitar and that (here we go again with this word:) dreamy sound, still I fucking love Beach House, and I guess if you didn’t, we wouldn’t have even got this far with the album together would we?
“All For The Best” could be the strongest track on the album, and maybe my favorite. It begins with a very Neanderthal kind of surf-garage guitar line and then develops into an airy synth supported breakdown; again, using simple arpeggios and a subtle build to lift the piece into the clouds. Its close to something that possibly the Raveonettes would accomplish if they collaborated with M83…I guess…again, I like both those guys, this is a great track on its own.
The album wraps up with two more down-tempo numbers; “Hesitate” with its wonderful acoustic lines, morphing into a slightly ambient build to close it, and final track: “Alaska”, a track that is so sweet that it almost feels like the record is saying goodbye to you, like a friend after a great time spent together.
Actually, I’ll go with that analogy; I feel like I’m in the really fantastic “getting-to-know-you-and-falling-in-love” stage with this record. We just met, went on our first proper date without any distractions, we got along, touched each others faces and now for some reason have to go do other boring shit for awhile until we meet again and re-capture the feeling. To be less opaque – I’m looking forward to putting this album on again, and I hope it feels the same way about me.
The Time Is Now is released on October 1st. Check their webpage Farawayfromfiji.com and their facebook site for where to get it, and some shows coming up.