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Friendly Fires, ‘Pala’ (XL)

By: Kevin O'Donnell // April 24, 2011

On Friendly Fires’ debut album, singer Ed MacFarlane imbued hip-shaking dance-rock with an emo boy’s sensitivity. This time, he’s all about hedonism, and what a relief: Better an ambitious second album that explores sexual urges (“Show Me Lights”) and tropical jet-setting (“Hawaiian Air”) than one bitching about rock-star isolation. His beat-savvy band, now including a horn section, matches the lyrics’ carnal urgency with white-hot club-wreckers, jittery Afropop, and art rock that recalls Talking Heads at their funkiest.