Fanfarlo, ICA, London

3.00

Multi-taskers who keep it reel

It's a hot June evening, and upon a blue-and-pink lit stage, Fanfarlo emerge to an adoring crowd with a lust for Gaelic indulgence and a yearning for some full-on foot-stomping and hand-clapping. It's the type of music that your mum and dad would undoubtedly love, though this is not an excuse for you not to dance along to their orchestral beats.

This band certainly have talent, and, so it would seem, enough money to acquire every instrument under the sun; clarinets, cellos, mandolins, guitars and ukuleles, you name it, they've got it.

"Ghosts" is the first brassy number they play, and as the six-piece cramp themselves on to the small stage, they draw inevitable comparisons to fellow folk lovers Noah and the Whale, but with a more angelic twist and softer vocals. The lead singer, Simon Balthazar, shows off his less than conventional way of knocking out a rhythm on the tracks "Drowning Men" and "Finish Line" as he taps his drumsticks on his mic stand, while the violinist, Cathy Lucas, jumps between keyboards and mandolin, adding willowy and complimentary backing vocals to "I'm a Pilot" and "Harold T Wilkins".

Every member of Fanfarlo seems to be playing two instruments at any one given time, providing a definitive display of musical know-how which verges on showboating, and an eagerness to perform, much like musical school students. "Luna", a real crowd pleaser, ends agreeably with a polite violin solo and a melody that just sticks with you. Encouraged by a cheering crowd for an encore, the band gladly comply. However, they decide to take the show to the floor and form a beatnik/hippie circle where adulation coincides with a well-picked finale of a song by the American band Neutral Milk Hotel.

Fanfarlo have assuredly managed to engage their audience, and for a relatively new band, they have a well-established fan base, which is understandable as they have a wonderful composition and awareness that in turn has attracted music lovers of the Belle & Sebastian generation.

Although it may be a well-worn frame of reference when it comes to Fanfarlo, it is hard to escape their similarity to bands such as Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, though what makes them different is the variety of musical talent on display, combined with a full-blown – and undoubtedly successful – effort to please an audience.

However, Fanfarlo seem to be unable to bring their well-written songs to a finely tuned climax. It's obvious to see that the music they make is winningly whimsical and is shot through with a particular, beguiling beauty. However, in order to get their noses in front of their competitors, they need to harness their extraordinary musical abilities to an even greater extent, pull a few more solos and revel in silent, poignant moments with the power to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum