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Farina

"Fariña excel at creating cinematic, baroque, psychedelic chamber pop on a tiny budget" [Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times]

Fariña were formed in September 1995 by Mark Brend, Matt Gale and Cliff Glanfield. Based in London, Matt and Mark have wandered on the fringes of British independent music since the 80s, having previously played in Mabel Joy and the Palace of Light - both of whom released albums on cult label Bam Caruso. Cliff played in a late line-up of Mabel Joy. Fariña's first few releases, including the band's debut album, were recorded as a three piece. The current four-piece line-up was established when Tim Conway joined in 2001. All members are multi-instrumentalists, singers and songwriters.

Fariña record at their own Hummingbird Studio, a mass of obsolete and modern equipment currently located in East Dulwich, South East London. Here they fashion their multi-layered elegies and epics using guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, brass, samples, sound effects, melodica, autoharp and a midi rig driven by a 286 computer running sequencing software that dates from the 80s.

The quartet of Mark Brend, Cliff Glanfield, Matt Gale and Tim Conway, all are multi-instrumentalists, and they all contribute to the songwriting process. The lushly ambitious compositions and instrumentation, rival and better those with endless budgets. Augmenting the standard guitar, bass, piano and drums, are accordion, melodica, organ, lap steel, trumpet, autoharp, subtle electronics, and found sounds. Their mutual muse is the singer-songwriter sounds of the late 60's and early 70's, (Brend has recently written a book on the subject called American Troubadours) their self-confessed influences include David Ackles, Ennio Morricone, Peter Perrett (of The Only Ones), and Talk Talk. You can hear traces of those influences, and much more, but there's no overt imitation going on, just kindred spirits making a wonderful kind of pop music. This is the kind of music Tim Hardin and Epic Soundtracks might be making in Heaven right now.

Discography

'Allotments' CD
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 58CD)

"This is even more of a finely-wrought pop marvel than its predecessor. If you could only buy one record this year, this one, with all its concentrated pop intelligence, would be a perfect candidate" [popnews.com]

"Highly ambitious, inventive and resolutely articulated, with flourishes worthy of Love’s Forever Changes, or Burt Bacharach in the day. Ultra-tender wistful empathic balladry weeps and gushes like a fountain; sprightly melancholic folk rock rings out like a new morning teeming with bright possibilities. Now swollen to a quartet, all of whom can sing and harmonize. Augmenting the more standard instrumentation of guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums, with the less expected autoharp, fluegelhorn, and more. Though Mark Brend (only one of the singing songwriters of Farina) is quite knowledgeable on the subject of great underknown bards of the 60’s (he’s written a good book about the subject), he and his fellows have so thoroughly absorbed their influences that it all feel fresh and quite organically their own. Ignore this at your own peril" George Parsons, Dream Magazine]

"This is a brave record, which explores vocal harmonies and unusual tempi, adding jazz elements to refined pop songwriting ("The Pearl"), flirting with both classical music and classic pop, intense and substantial as something by the Montgolfier Brothers without the same indefinable pain ("Sleep"), adventurous and decadent bordering on prog ("Don't Look Down"), perfectly balanced pop in the English tradition using a harpsichord ("Never Any Good") or Spanish guitar and vocal harmonies ("B-Side"). And, believe me, in a day and age when the most adventurous thing anyone ever seems to do is to imitate "Pet Sounds" for the hundredth time, this is not to be sniffed at" [indiepop.it]

"Fariña blend an obvious love for late 60s / early 70s singer-songwriters with left-field 80s indie and the early electronic experimentalism of the Silver Apples and the BBC Radiophonic Orchestra" [Future Music]

"Fariña have picked up ideas from a few of those master songwriters whom the mere mention of seals friendships - people like David Ackles and Tim Hardin, but also The Chills and The Go Betweens. Fariña are cheerfully looking after the little mausoleum of refined, melancholic pop style. With two albums and a handful of singles in ten years, Fariña can allow themselves to take care over the interior design, with a whole host of arrangements, precious instruments and celestial choirs worthy of the likes of Brian Wilson or Arthur Lee" [Les Inrockuptibles]

"Farina's sound has expanded on Allotments. I was surprised to see this, as it is a very cohesive record and doesn't sound at all "bitty". The twin shadows of late '60's British pop of the Andrew Loog Oldham school and the American Paisley underground of the '80's loom large here. There's a melancholic trumpet singing out like a latterday Herb Alpert on Forever Changes and plenty of vocal harmonies, not to mention a pretty interesting set of lyrics. Catch this album now - it could well be one the years finest classic pop sounds and one you'll get more from each time you play it" [John Cavanagh, BBC Radio Scotland/Melody Bar]

'Allotments' is available now,in a limited edition 6 page digipack CD.

'Island of Hotels' (MP3)
'Nothing Seems to Last' (MP3)
'She Radiates' (MP3)

Download Allotments from eMusic
Listen to Allotments on Last.fm


UK: £10.00


EU: €15.00


US: $18.00

'Three People' CD
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 28CD)

"At last: a band who make frail, sad songs that capture the imagination rather than sending you to sleep. It's not often the word "epiphany" features in a pop chorus, after all. These are melodic and textured hymns of memories and regrets, with lashings of trumpet, atmospheric keyboards and the odd thwack of a ruler mixed in. Farina wallow in complete loveliness, from the anxiously voiced excitement of meeting an old love in the accordion-driven fairground fantasy Animals in the Zoo, to the wry humour and jangling guitars of Confession TV. This is an updated Village Green Preservation Society, with its sense of nostalgia close and comforting, the sound a steam train leaving the station a nice analogy for the gentle sense of displacement throughout. As Mark Brend sings "I've sold my remorse, I haven't repurchased it yet" on If She Should Blame Him, before ending with a shoulder-shrugging spot of whistling, you realise how graceful and special Farina are" [Betty Clarke, The Guardian]

'Liberty' (MP3)
'Confession TV' (MP3)
'If She Should Blame Him' (MP3)

Download Three People from eMusic


UK: £10.00


EU: €15.00


US: $18.00

'Three People' LP
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 28LP)

"Aching debut from London trio steeped in obscure singer-songwriter mores. There can be few musicians whose benchmarks are cult troubadours David Ackles, Mickey Newbury and Tim Hardin. However, for Fariña (named after '60s folk musician/author Richard), these grainy, turn-of-the-'70s vignettes constitute an unsurpassed wellspring of sophisticated pop that knocks your Coldplays and David Grays into a cloth cap. Vocalist Mark Brend sings with a studiously resigned air on Heaven's Gate and Regret In Advance, while keyboardist Mat Gale turns in a plaintive tale of woe on the resolutely old-fashioned ballad, Animals In The Zoo. Elsewhere trumpets resound nostalgically, guitars chime like church bells on a summer's day, and on the infinitely catchy Confession TV swooning melody rules the day - albeit inevitably etched with melancholy. Apparently they do make them like this anymore" [David Sheppard, Q]

'Liberty' (MP3)
'Confession TV' (MP3)
'If She Should Blame Him' (MP3)

Download Three People from eMusic


UK: £9.00


EU: €15.50


US: $21.00

'Two People' 7" EP
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 19)

"Farina are a London based three piece, who delight in getting some of the most unusual sounds and melodies from traditional instrumentation. 'If She Could Blame Him' ably demonstrates why whistling on songs should be more common - nay compulsory. 'Displace' on the other hand can despatch a grown man to a weeping heap at ten paces, and I should know" [Mark Barton, Record Mart & Buyer]

"It's easy to turn into an adjective monster on these occasions, so I'll stick to just a couple: unusual and moving" [Jimmy Possession, Robots & Electronic Brains]

'Two People' (MP3)

UK: £3.00


EU: €5.00


US: $7.00

Reviews

The Vanity Project
Pop News 'Allotments' review (in French)
Derives 'Allotments' review (in French)
indiepop.it 'Allotments' review (in Italian)
The Guardian 'Three People' review
Leonard's Lair 'Three People' review
Pop News 'Three People' review (in French)

Links

Farina website



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