Two years on from the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Hit the Light, Ten Fe are back with their follow-up. Future Perfect, Present Tense, is due out March 8th on Some Kinda Love/PIAS records. Created by songwriters Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan they wrote the second release in what some would say was an unromantically inspired location of a vacant driving licence office in Walthamstow. But the location didn’t stifle their creative process along with the rest of their now extended band (Rob Shipley, Johnny Drain and Alex Hammond). They then went off to Oslo to get it produced by Luke Smith of Depeche Mode, Foals, and Anna of the North fame, and mixed by Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, Florence & The Machine).
First track Won’t Happen is snappy and catchy. It features Leo on vocals and has a spring in its step. This was released off the album last October and features some jaunty strings. Isn’t Ever A Day comes in with a drum beat that sounds like Fun Boy Three’s Our Lips Are Sealed and then Leo's vocals come in with very solemn sounding vocals. It’s very Fleetwood Mac with an infectious rhythm combined with earnest synth waves throughout.
No Night Lasts Forever is particularly poignant about time you’ll never get back, but on a positive note also times yet to come. It’s full of longing with some great guitar, more synth sounds and a brilliant bass note to end on. Coasting is another infectious strong track (released this year) with some fluid, harmonies.
For me Echo Park really stands-out. It’s very Hall & Oates in sound about a friend counselling another friend not to “ache too long for the woman who led your heart to break.” It’s sultry with a laid-back groove. What I really like about this band is their ability to carve out emotional dramas that draw you in succinctly.
Caught On The Inside is another example. It’s full of yearning, beautiful harmonies and searing emotion and there’s a great horn effect later on. Superrich finishes the album starting with a glam stomp intro with the protagonist lamenting about being too rich and “wanting to go back to how it used to be.” It’s a low-key track that builds to a crescendo with a chorus that cheers at the end. Maybe they’re cheering that the album is completed? Who knows, they sound like they’re having fun.
Ten Fe are back with another accomplished album that’s full of beguiling slow burners that stay in your head long after you’ve played them.