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Fickle Friends have been taking over the indie-pop scene in a big way since 2013 with their unique combination of an LA aesthetic and an undeniably British sound and feel to their art. With each release they bring something new and refreshing, and their latest EP, 'Broken Sleep' is no exception to the rule.
My first thought was that I felt that this EP showed they'd matured as musicians because of the increased dips into the use of (singer) Natti's lower vocal range giving the songs another level compared to previous releases. There also seems to be a slightly heavier feel to this collection of sounds with a deep pulse running through the EP created by a mix of synths and percussion. It reminds me of listening to music through speakers at a show and feeling the vibrations under your feet (which is quite a pleasant association) and it gives the dreamy, ethereal sound they have a greater depth and a more human feeling.
Personally, I love how the silky synths create the feeling of being lifted up into a kind of dreamscape. When I listen it's almost like I can see the sound rising up a pink sky in the form of stars and clouds. Then the picture is completed with the lower, heavier elements which keep your feet on the ground and give a feeling of safety. This kind of atmospheric sound is truly wonderful to listen to and gives a three dimensional world for the listener to enjoy, even if they don't realise it.
All of this, of course, comes before we've even discussed the wonderful melodies more prominent, leading features. It would be a crime to not acknowledge the bounce given to the songs by the catchy guitar melodies and riffs, which ring out through songs like gems singing out their own cheeky tune. As noted before, the bass and drums are especially prominent and this also contributes to the groovy feeling that makes you wanna dance along.
Accompanied again by what sounds like a selection of synths and keyboards which play their important parts, providing a number of layers which give a sense of movement as they dance around your head in their own unique ways. Like layers of a painting, everything is combined to create a beautiful, detailed work of art in each song. Every time I listen I pick up on something new - it's truly a treat.
Lyrically, this collection of songs is quite personal. There's definitely a theme of finding where you belong and self discovery in this EP which is especially clear in the song 'San Francisco' which seems to tell a story of starting again in a new place and feeling like it has brought a new life to the protagonist.
Personal growth is also portrayed in the song ' The Moment' which seems to be about shaking off people who bring you down or try to hold you back, and finding a way to just live in the moment and feel free.
It's significant to me that this track came after the title track 'Broken Sleep' because it shows a huge amount of growth from one song to another. In 'Broken Sleep' we hear the story of someone who can't sleep because they miss someone (mostly likely a romantic partner) so much. It's relatable, powerful, and also kind of sad to hear about someone who seems to need someone by them so badly that they want to sleep longer to be with them in their dreams. Going from this to 'The Moment' shows a really positive growth which allows for independence and self-love, like they've shaken off the hurt and loneliness and just want to live.
In fact, listening to the EP in order really does show a personal journey of someone who is finding themselves and making positive changes in their life. It's a very happy and empowering tale.
'Broken Dreams' is a wonderfully cohesive collection of songs, each of which stand out strongly on their own but fit together. It has the signature Fickle Friends feeling which has gained them the success they have so far earned while keeping fresh, new, and allowing for them to progress as artists naturally. I would absolutely recommend that you listen to this EP as soon as possible.
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