London act Ten Fé consists of Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan. Their debut album Hit the Light is due out 3rd February 2017 and follows on from several singles that were released including Make Me Better, In The Air, Elodie and Turn. They also produced a cover of Underworld’s Born Slippy.
The album is the result of four long years of graft that took them from busking in London, jamming in a bedroom in Birmingham through to eventual recording of their album in Berlin (at the HQ of Kompakt Records). The name of the band literally means “have faith” which is what seems to have kept them going. Track one Overflow has an instantly captivating electronic 80s synth feel to it which is hypnotic and well produced. No wonder as the album was produced by Ewan Pearson (The Rapture, m83 and Jagwar Ma).
Turn was a previous single with Leo on vocals and has an interesting mix of more electronic grooves and chocolatey harmonies very reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac. This song proved highly popular gaining four million Spotify streams. Elodie vocals has a more American “soft-rock” feel to it but this combines well with the urgent electronic beat, piano and clever, insistent harmonies. Twist Your Arm is their latest single from the album and story goes that Leo and Ben went to Ewan with what was “basically, an old, bluesy-type tune – slide guitars, chain-gang backing vocals, gospel piano” and Ewan turned it around into a Primal Scream (Screamadelica) type vibe meets Happy Mondays Hallelujah: definitely a stand-out track that I will be playing a lot more of.
Another Way is seamless with an 80s Hall and Oates style vocals. In the Air was yet another single that is instantly catchy with its refrain “I’m not through with love, I’m through with pain”. It’s a hopeful song about growing and “Moving on the feeling in the air”. The vocals throughout are so jaunty it has you tapping your feet. Indeed the album’s theme is of being renewed, from coming from dark into light, and this song reflects that. Don’t Forget combines poetic, haunting harmonies elegantly reminiscent of MGMT that builds into a mesmerising crescendo with crunchy guitars before fading away again.
Follow continues the album with an insistent beat recognisable in several of their songs with a flicker of New Order about it that is enchanting. It’s like lighting a flame and watching it glow fiercely. This is a sumptuous track and another stand-out. Make Me Better has a wonderfully exotic Middle Eastern feel to it with more heartfelt vocals. Burst has a lovely staccato refrain interjected with a synthesized beat and sounds jubilant. Final track July Rain combines a compelling slide guitar with a plush vocal backed by a gospel choir. This is exultant and again echoes the theme of rejuvenation and coming into the light.
Hit the Light is a powerfully hypnotic debut album that is distinctive, rich in talent and versatility and deserves to do very well.