#NewMusicFriday: ‘Broken Sleep’ by Fickle Friends

Hot off the heels of their debut album release and a string of summer festival performances, Fickle Friends explore new ground on the driving pop track, Broken Sleep.

It’s time for some new directions for the Brighton band. Leaving Polydor Records to start up their own record company, the five-piece are back with an evolved pop sound ahead of their new EP out later this year.

Their first album, You Are Someone Else, was a strong introduction from Natti Shiner and co. Colourful instrumentals and soft vocals on a slow beat cemented the group as a band with a clear, distinctive sound, and room to experiment.

Listening to the lead single of their new EP, this traditional sound remains, but it feels different. While hits from You Are Someone Else packed a punch with a slower tempo, Broken Sleep has a driving rhythm which is much more urgent and excitable. If we’re seeing Fickle Friends move towards faster, poppier hits, then the band is heading in a very exciting direction indeed.

Broken Sleep is available now on Apple Music and Spotify.

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REVIEW: ‘You Are Someone Else’ by Fickle Friends

With a synth-heavy soundtrack for the millennial generation, You Are Someone Else is the highly anticipated debut album from Brighton band Fickle Friends.

Rarely are songs so brilliantly mastered that every instrument and layer of a track can be heard all at once. In every one of the 16 songs is a burst of musical euphoria that isn’t in your face or underwhelming, nor detracts from Natassja Shiner’s soft vocals. Whether it’s the plucky bass of Lovesick, the sharp guitar melodies of Swim and Bite or calming synth of Wake Me Up, every one offers a signature sound under the umbrella of true Fickle Friends indie pop.

Not only that, but a triplet rhythm on She and quirky intros on tracks such as Midnight and Rotation hint at future styles from the band. Songs like Paris and In My Head strip back the traditional synths, paving the way for Shiner to take centre stage.

While nearly half of the songs have been heard before, they serve as nostalgic timestamps of the band’s five-year history and for the fans that have followed them along the way. As much as You Are Someone Else can be seen as a diary, it’s also a very personal album – the title (taken from Brooklyn) and record as a whole representing “the feeling that you don’t fit in your own life, forever craving something else”.

It’s something we hear on Hard to Be Myself and Wake Me Up as well as Brooklyn. Songs about anxiety or feeling lost are wrapped up in catchy and vibrant hits, making You Are Someone Else an energetic but relatable album which any listener can connect with.

Rating: 4/5

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Wake Me Up’ by Fickle Friends

When it comes to bops, Fickle Friends like to go big and loud. Yet, with every album, live show or string of singles, there’s that one track (or two) which strikes a calmer, more contemplative tone. Today, the Brighton band release that single with their song, Wake Me Up.

In an interesting contrast to previous tracks, it’s pulsing bass and drums which take centre stage in the verses, as opposed to bubbly piano melodies or plucky guitar.

However, the synth, as usual, makes an appearance in the chorus with bouncy chords interlacing with the fluctuating flow of Nattie’s soft vocals.

What is unusual though is the synth’s chord progression, which creates a low, minor tone which isn’t usually heard on a Fickle Friends release. Past releases from the band have begun with calmer introductions, only to quickly progress into fast-paced melodies. Here, we see the same mood throughout, which works well with the song’s tale of a struggling and troubled relationship, as well as showcasing a fresh take on their traditional sound ahead of their debut album release.

You Are Someone Else comes out on Friday, 16 March.

Musical Discovery: ‘Hard to Be Myself’ by Fickle Friends

‘Something a bit different’ was how Fickle Friends described their latest single in a tweet last month. Whilst a more synth-heavy track could certainly be described as ‘different’ compared to  the usual funky guitar vibes, the five-piece band from Brighton once again strike a hit with their latest bop, Hard to Be Myself.

It’s a track which is as catchy as it is relatable. Soft vocals from lead singer Natti see her talk about overthinking, reading between the lines and feeling like ‘a prisoner to [the] mood‘. We’ve all been there: sitting in the corner of a party feeling lost and insecure when everyone else is dancing away. It’s a song about a position we’ve all been in, beautifully presented with bouncy synth and triplet vocals, and soul.

Hard to Be Myself is available now on Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music.

Fickle Friends’ ‘Glue’ – a groovy assortment of sweet, sticky pop

It was nothing but coincidence that all three songs from Fickle Friends’ new EP have a viscous substance as their title, but even so, with intricate guitar riffs, smooth vocal harmonies and rocking beats, SugarVanilla and Glue all live up to their names.

EP artwork for 'Glue' by Fickle Friends
The EP comes exactly two months after the title track, ‘Glue’, was released.

Look no further than the title track, Glue. Natti Shiner’s dreamy voice is guided with light synths and plucky guitar to produce an excitable track about rushed romance on a night out. Strip back all the funky instrumentals for the acoustic version and you have a song which really shows off Shiner’s soft vocals.

Then comes Sugar, which is essentially Glue 2.0, but tamer. Yet, the chorus is what’s distinctive. The line: and you don’t, and you don’t know, you don’t know you’re sugar interlinks beautifully with the beat underneath, and the harmonised sugar in the next line helps make it a strong second track for the EP. Calm but still funky, it bridges the gap between Glue and Vanilla – a song which certainly drifts away from the tone of the previous two.

Although, that is no doubt because of the new direction which the band pursue in this track. A slow drum beat immediately calm things down as the electronica takes a back seat for the most part and is replaced with a slouching rhythm and atmospheric bass.

If one was to dissect the record in more detail, it could be said that Glue splits up the feel-good sound we’ve heard on previous releases (such as Brooklyn and Hello Hello) to begin with, before the more chilled side of the five-piece comes through on the final two songs. Vanilla is a breakaway from the funk, and the acoustic version of Glue – as mentioned previously – demonstrates Natti’s talent.

It’s definitely a clever way of keeping fans excited for the band’s debut album, which is believed to be released early next year.

Musical Discovery: ‘Glue’ by Fickle Friends

With a growing fanbase and a big debut imminent, all eyes are on the Brighton electro-pop band Fickle Friends when it comes to their next release. For a while now, news outlets have reported that the five-piece group are to unveil their debut album in the summer, but with the announcement of an August EP (entitled Glue), could that be delayed? Even if that is the case, Fickle Friends continue to build the hype around their music, as they revealed the title track from the record late last week.

Bouncy synths introduce a track which sounds far more electronic than previous singles such as Brooklyn and Hello Hello. However, it isn’t long before it is balanced out with the traditional guitar riffs which are such a strong part of Fickle Friends’ style. Accentuated notes tense up the track ahead of the song’s catchy chorus, where Natassja Shiner’s soft and smooth vocals add to the euphoric, plucky electronic guitar and bass.

It’s yet another groovy track for the band to add to their already impressive collection, complete with summer vibes to keep us hyped throughout the season until the big EP release. Even when the band said in a recent newsletter that the song was ‘kinda born out of frustration from lots of writing sessions that hadn’t gone all that well’, there’s no dip in quality when it comes to this new single.

So, if this is indeed a teaser for bigger things to come (that debut album), then Glue certainly is a single which perfectly summarises the upbeat electro-pop vibe of Fickle Friends, and will no doubt be a great opener to the three-track EP coming our way on Friday, August 11.