New Wave Gets A Facelift
For months, the London duo Ten Fé have confidently released singles from Hit The Lights, their full-length, February 2017 LP. This is always somewhat of a gambit. If tracks thrive in the wild, hype builds and release day is a success. If they don’t, the album’s release will come and go unnoticed. Luckily, the stars seem to be aligning for Ten Fé, who have gathered tens of thousands of Youtube hits on each single, and one song, “In The Air,” which reached no. 2 on the Hype Machine chart. Even more encouraging is that the singles provided a well-rounded snapshot of the album as a whole.
Ten Fé’s sound is a smooth marriage of new wave, alternative rock and electronic music. They cherry pick the redeeming elements of ’80s new wave – driving synths, rousing lyrics – and substitute its saccharine romance with the tasteful melancholy of alt rock. Electronic flourishes bring the album into the present. The confident, stylistic choices made by Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan also grant Hit The Lights generous sonic diversity. Songs like “Another Way” recall the electronic euphoria of MGMT, while “In The Air” and “Twist Your Arm” remind us of Sting and The Police.
Even though hype is transient, Ten Fé have managed to keep theirs growing in the long intervals between released singles. To their credit, they’ve left no illusions as to what Hit The Lights is going to be, and are poised to cash in. How far this band is capable of going commercially is a mystery, but at least they’ve discovered a formula that works.