It’s rare to know your place in the world, even rarer through the lengthy lens of the universe. In a recent interview with mxdwn, Fanfarlo’s Cathy Lucas succinctly summed up their approach to music and general ethos as “an interest in anthropology and how culture is meaningful to people and how that fits in with biology and the ways in which we started out as amoebas and become human beings.” That attitude permeates their latest offering, Let’s Go Extinct, by far the band’s airiest album since debut LP Reservoir.
Opening track “Life in the Sky” looks deeply down into the stratosphere in a sweeping synth intro. Frontman Simon Balthazar adds the lower octave to Lucas’ sweet vocals as horns soon join the party. For each additional instrument, in a seamless combination, Balthazar and Lucas somehow reign in an extra moving component like expert conductors. This type of expansive sound hasn’t been as effectively done since Arcade Fire stole Grammy judges’ hearts and changed the sonic landscape with The Suburbs. “We’re the Future” stands out as a particularly strong track and is far less preachy than its title suggests. “Does it ever stay? / Can we change / Can we go all the way?” Balthazar and Lucas echo their inquiries, two voices caught up in the question of personal evolution.
Reading little into the lyrics suggests an album titled Let’s Go Extinct would bring about the finality of Fanfarlo, yet the band is far from taking their final bows. Let’s Go Extinct rouses Fanfarlo from their sophomore slump and rekindles the band’s beautiful curiosity drawn from its members’ highly varied backgrounds. Deeper questions will continue to preoccupy the quartet, and so far music seems like the best outlet to address them. Waxing poetic on eponymous closing track “Let’s Go Extinct,” Balthazar croons a lullaby to the stars. Lucas joins in, along with a brush of percussion and the type of driving melody that suggests the end result of Let’s Go Extinct means just as much as the journey to get there.