BEST NEW TRACKS: FICKLE FRIENDS - HEARTBROKEN (ACOUSTIC)
Fickle Friends' "Heartbroken" puts the 'sweet' in bittersweet in a new acoustic version featuring Amber Run.
"Heartbroken" was written when Brighton's Fickle Friends were in a weird, transitory place. Singer Natti Shiner talked to the website The Prelude Press on the origins of "Heartbroken," stating "Heartbroken has all sorts of meanings, but when we wrote it we were in a difficult headspace and kinda thought the music industry was out to get us. I know a lot of people have felt that way at some point, including our good friend Joe (from Amber Run). Asking him to sing this with me gave it a whole new feel, his voice is incredible and it made it more special because I think he could totally relate to the lyrics too."
The new acoustic version of "Heartbroken" feels like a celebration, even considering the slightly somber subject matter. "Heartbroken" was written in a time of flux and uncertainty, both in Fickle Friends' personal lives as well as musical careers. This uncertainty helped propel the Brighton quintet's synth-infused party rock to a new level, combining arty 80s synthpop with 21st Century Future Pop, to truly compelling results. Considering the polished production values of You Are Someone Else, "Heartbroken (acoustic)" seems like a victory lap. Bouncy island riddims are replaced with glistening acoustic guitar arpeggios and haunting, keening vocals, including background harmonies and a verse from Amber Run's Joe Keough. It sounds a bit like Iron And Wine covering Phil Collins. Or maybe Rihanna.
FICKLE FRIENDS - HEARTBROKEN - ACOUSTIC
Either way, it's cool to hear Fickle Friends in a more raw and unrefined space, staring unblinkingly from the frame, stark and clear in bright white light. The feelings drip from every plucked string and trembling vocal, quivering you down to your marrow while barely raising above a whisper.
"Heartbroken (acoustic)" is from a new EP, "You Are Someone Else (versions)". It follows the previous singles "Say No More," and an alternate mix of "Wake Me Up." The album got as high as #9 on the UK charts. It should be interesting to see how the alternate versions fare!
It's a sign of a band at the peak of their powers and capable of absolutely anything. We Are: The Guard have been excited about Fickle Friends since You Are Someone Else dropped earlier this year. Now we're down-right enthralled to see what's gonna happen next. Fickle Friends are capable of anything.
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.