Search The Line of Best Fit
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FAMY - We Fam Econo

"We Fam Econo"

Release date: 08 September 2014
Famy we fam econo
28 August 2014, 09:30 Written by Phil Gwyn
Emerging in 2011, the London via France quartet FAMY spent their early years careering around the UK and being spoken of in the same breath as touring buddies Wu Lyf whilst stubbornly refusing to release as much music as possible. In 2014, much has changed: the Donkey EP that was unveiled in March and was followed by the Ava EP in July, with this, their debut album, charging into view almost before we’ve had a chance to properly digest “Ava”’s blustery, cathartic deluge.

That said, though they’ve fortunately disposed of their reluctance to release music, they’re still having Wu Lyf comparisons strewn in front of them as if they were expected to fill the gaping hole that’s been left by the Mancunian outfit’s demise in 2012. We Fam Econo, then, is a slightly contradictory in that it both carves out a niche for FAMY’s unique life-affirming folk rock and justifies some of those Wu-Lyf comparisons with their almost reverential aura.

Witnessing those reverential, cavernous soundscapes that FAMY strangle from a few humans and some battered old guitars and drums on We Fam Econo, it’s difficult to bet against some sort of divine intervention in the recording process. In fact, they’d probably tell you that the quasi-religious like fervour of the album was a result of their recording it in a church in Wales. You can literally hear the space’s influence on opener “Aux Armes”, as an organ kicks in over what sounds like a Benedictine monk intoning a call to arms (“Aux Armes” being French for “a call to arms” – and also the song of Marseille, their local football team).

Evoking religious imagery isn’t the only trick at their disposal, though. In fact, it’s their buoyant, clattering energy that is the core of tracks like “Donkey”, which is driven along by the nervous energy of great blows of acoustic guitar that come on like epileptic fits, never settling on a chord for more than a second or two before smashing out the next one. Whether battering the life out of unfortunate acoustic guitars or creating lush, spacious soundscapes (“Cap Ferrat”), the one constant that runs through We Fam Econo is its overt emotionality. There’s not a track here that isn’t stirring in some way, whether it’s the soaring melodies of “Baba” or the disconsolate “Ava”, which somehow manages to be triumphant and intensely melancholic at the same time. Technically complex they might not be, but they really nail emotion over these eleven tracks; everything sounds bold, airy, momentous… - things that the wizened hand of producer Miti Adhikari (former engineer at the BBC’s Maida Vale studio) might have helped with.

We Fam Econo also treads that much-crossed line between turning out incendiary widescreen folk rock, whilst not forgetting all of the idiosyncrasies and oddness that makes them unique. Take “Barbie Girls”, for example, that begins sounding genuinely gigantic, with a celestial choral wash thrown over pummelling guitars and drums, before collapsing into something more intimate and confessional. “Hey ho/barbie girl/don’t you know that you get the goal?” they ask. What? Are we still talking about Marseille here? Is the entire album slyly football themed? Does “Donkey” refer to a Heskey-like centre forward? There are more questions than answers in most of their lyrics, often either being cryptic or pure gibberish, but they get away with it because they’re delivered with wide-eyed romantic conviction, whether they make any sense or not.

That’s not to say that the album is some pseudo-philosophical enigma, mind you. There’s a jubilant, uplifting feeling to tracks like “A Ho A Hand” that suggest nothing more complicated than the euphoria of bashing out tunes with your mates. In fact, the whole record has that cultish feel, which is maybe why FAMY sound so distinctly like themselves. In sum, it’s sophisticated, brutish, and noticeably Gallic; imagine the brain of a French romantic and the brawn of Sébastien Chabal wildly thrashing out left-field folk rock. There’s the stadium sized ambition of Arcade Fire, the arrhythmic approach of tUnE-YaRdS, and, yes, those cultish yowls of Wu Lyf; but this remains a debut that is distinctly FAMY.

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