It’s that last point that saves them from being pigeonholed as ‘Diet Paramore With Added Elgin’. While their previous work was jagged but pleasant pop-punk, on this, their new E.P, they’ve really stamped down on the accelerator. Earlier songs, like ‘Tim Burton’ and ‘I See Spiders’ might’ve induced a subconscious wee sitting-down-dance-while-concentrating-on-something-else, but this new stuff really tries to grab itself some undivided attention. Everything is much more considered. Nothing is inserted for the sake of it. While the results of their labour might be a little less immediate, the overall product is very, very exciting indeed.
From the opening twangs of ‘La Demence’, it’s clear that this isn’t your average pop-punk sugar rush. It might be the most immediately accessible track on the E.P, but it never becomes predictable. A fairly passable remix by the Glaswegian producer Grobbie also appears. At first it appears to do everything a good remix should – it lets the vocals shine through while adding a bit of energy and sparkle to the arrangement, but the drum machine parts seem a little unimaginative and it plods a bit towards the end.
It’s on the other two tracks that the evolution of Farewell Singapore makes itself truly evident. The dynamic ‘Can’t Lie’ is probably the best thing they’ve ever done. From the delicate intro, they let Becky Addison’s ridiculously pretty voice carry itself into depths she’s always shown herself to be able to reach, but perhaps never had the conviction to fully go for. It’s not even that she has a dog-scaring range, or the raw volume of a stereotypical diva. Perhaps it’s the more mature lyrical content. But the intervals she picks out between notes, the phrasing, the sudden urgency as everything builds to a climax – it all suggests a confident vocalist who has really begun to hit her stride. Something similar happens on ‘Chambers’. While a little more relaxed and – for want of a better word – tinkly, its undeniable prettiness marks it as a solid track, worthy of inclusion on an E.P. that seeks to reach an admirably high standard.
It’s really impossible to overstate how big a progression this is for Farewell Singapore. They’ve gone from likeable pop-punk proponents into a very promising alternative rock group. They finally sound as big and as important as they knew they could.