When fleeting enigmas Wu Lyf first emerged, their press-shunning sparked an excitable furore and left an intrigued few rather desperate to pull back the curtain and meet the wizard. It was an intriguing tactic that the umbilically-tied FAMY also seemed destined to adopt soon after in 2011. Shrouded in similar mystique, with a matching aesthetic accompanying the ethereal minimalism of ‘Mother Benita’ and the excellent ‘DOGG DOGG’, they seemed to have enough enchanting traits to emerge and woo immediately, but alas the West London via South of France quartet instead decamped to Wales to toil over their curious sound for a bit longer.
Three years later, and on reflection, it seems like their decision to take a considered approach was a good one. After Wu Lyf imploded and members of each combined to launch the tropical-tinged Los Porcos, Famy have returned under their original guise with this EP, which arrives as something of an exciting reawakening. It begins with the stirring title track ‘Donkey’, which announces itself (quite literally) with a choral chant of “Famy is here” floating above a fiery acoustic, vigorous tambourine and tribal drums. Commandingly, it wholly captures the ramshackle allure of their live show; the track’s sprawling and enveloping hooks revealing a group devotion for natural, pillowy reverb – the sort that only a working church studio can spawn.
Elsewhere, the vocals also benefit from the airy room the songs were born in, with the combined emotive chirks at the end of ‘A Ho A Hand”s dazzling chorus being a fitting example. They’re oddly placed alongside a buoyant, simplistic riff, which vaguely resembles James’s ‘Laid’ if it showed some restraint and made itself presentable for people perched on pews. However, perhaps Famy’s newest offerings better succeed when they’re laced in sadness; ‘Hebrew”s minor strums are more in keeping with the title track and it’s something that gives them a Grizzly Bear-ish reflective quality. Contrastingly, while their cover of The Minutemen’s seminal ‘History Lesson – Part II’ shows their versatility, it feels somewhat detrimental to their intense and hypnotising edge.
Nonetheless, the first taste of their forthcoming debut album (due for release in early Summer) is an inviting one and more than enough to keep the band’s growing army of yea-sayers enthralled. In fact, rather like Manchester’s most exciting recent exports, Money, their niche grandiosity seems to belong to a world almost entirely of its own and thus sits uncomfortably with a modern age of internet ailurophilia and instantaneous entertainment. Regardless, this is a re-birth that deserves to be joyously received. 7/10
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