Since forming in 2013, Brighton five piece Fickle Friends gigged relentlessly for two years before signing with Polydor Records, and have quickly risen to prominence since. Following a wide range of festival appearances, high-profile support slots and millions of Spotify streams, the indie-pop group are finally releasing their debut album, You Are Someone Else.
The group have a distinct sound incorporating summery synths and extensive use of vocal effects overlaying the crisp voice of lead singer Natassja ‘Natti’ Shiner. On listening to bouncy opening track ‘Wake Me Up’, it is no surprise that the album was recorded in Los Angeles, with the song taking on more influences from American contemporary music than the British guitar music scene on which the group first found their popularity. They have honed a sound and songwriting technique that is instantly catchy, and this is demonstrated by the equally commanding second track, and former single, ‘Glue’.
With the formula followed by Fickle Friends having already brought them considerable success, it is not a surprise that the majority of tracks here fall into the category of upbeat indie-pop. Some tracks on show are genuinely brilliant, such as the 80s-inspired ‘Bite’ which is underpinned by wriggling hooks, and the addictive ‘Say No More’. However, perhaps unsurprisingly for a debut album, there is often the sense of the band still finding their feet, with the EDM-inspired ‘Heartbroken’ proving forgettable and jarring auto tune distracting from the otherwise emotive sounds of ‘Paris’.
Two of the album highlights, ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘She’, bring the LP to a strong end. There is a lot to You Are Someone Else that will appeal to their largely late teen fan base; Natti’s performances are consistently strong, there are plenty of songs catchy enough to command repeat listens, and the introspective lyrics touch on both the giddiness of first love and the struggles of early adulthood.
Aside from the odd bit of filler, it’s a solid alternative pop album, ready-made for summer evenings and festival stages. Destined to grow even bigger off the back of this, the next step for Fickle Friends will be to create something truly reflective of their glistening potential.