Review: Farrah – Farrah
Published on April 12th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Okay, this album’s been out for a couple of years now, but it’s only just been brought to my attention and happens to be really rather good…so I’m-a review it anyway.
Farrah are a London four-piece fronted by the distinctly American-sounding Jez Ashurst, a man who has apparently written songs for Boyzone, Hanson, Will Young, Brian McFadden and Cliff Richard (!). How very impressive yet off-putting, you might be thinking, but anyone in thrall to sunny pop harmonies, syrupy melodies and razor-sharp lyricism should bloody well keep reading, unless you’re already attuned to the delights of Farrah, in which case you’ll know what I mean.
Opener “Swings & Roundabouts” chimes straight in with “Love’s a drag / Look at you, you’re so damn hard inside” atop bouncing piano chords, sounding one part Ben Folds and one part Hunky Dory, before bursting sunnily forth into a chorus that sounds like Jeff Lynne directing Take That. Now, that last comparison might have you running screaming, but that would be your loss; this is shining, life-affirming, grin-inducing pop gold.
“Stereotypes” (not a Blur cover) is similarly immediate yet confusing, somehow stitching together a Stevie Wonder/Elvis Costello verse and a chorus that strays unnervingly close to modern chart territory, before “Scarborough” lays bear a Fountains of Wayne influence with “Simon the accountant / Slouches by the water fountain / As the girl from refinancing / Is a bit Scarlett Johansson / Who likes Grease and Dirty Dancing / But she’s bi”, Michelle Margherita’s floaty light backing vocal on the chorus completing this breeziest of breezy trots.
“DNA” is a sweet, folky meditation with arresting lines like “If all that I am is just a code / A puzzle of genes and chromosomes / How comes you smile and that’s enough / To fill my empty heart with love”, Margherita turns in a lovely lead performance on the beautifully ‘ba ba ba’-wielding “Got the Best of Me”, “If You Were Mine” lands a sucker-punch combination of chord progression and lyric on “you wouldn’t cry all the time if you were mine”, and “Missed the Boat” chimes majestically like Grand Prix-era Teenage Fanclub.
The blissfully ethereal “Wasting Time” does well by its reference to a “hazy state of mind”, “Just Driving” passes by fairly uneventfully, “Abby’s Going Out” is a lovely, tender little piano thing, “Sleep Above the Corners” revolves gracefully along on a pleasingly disorienting sample, before “All I Want is You” rides the album out on a stately piano progression that lands surprisingly close to Radiohead given all that’s gone before, at least until the darkness lifts over an epic sing-along finale.
A fine collection all in all, even if it could use a little more adventure in places. Having said that, at least they don’t force it (Farrah force it? Geddit? Sorry…). If you like this, check out the great lost Ether, and indeed Farrah’s previous three studio albums.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!