Ten Fé, translated from Spanish, means “have faith”. And it sounds like a quite popular saying, in times like these, when the overwhelming press coverage brings to our screens – 24/7 – scenes of political disasters and inhumanity from all over the world. What about some optimism, for a change? Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan, Ten Fé, bring an answer to our doubts, our need of hope, and they do it with their debut album, ‘Hit The Light’. It’s their first milestone, and it feels like these guys will have some more love to show in the next future.
Let’s start from the beginning. Ten Fé are a London-based duo I came across with a few months ago, perhaps skipping songs on my Discovery Weekly playlist on Spotify, I can’t remember exactly. I liked them almost instantly. One of their first singles, ‘Make Me Better’ is what I would define as a sexy tune. Simple riffs, some hints of clean guitars, and a fair use of synths make it to a sort of crossbreed between catchy synth-pop and some sorts of happy vibes, rather rare to find out there, nowadays.
The album is the result of four years of hard work, busking outside London’s tube stations, recording sessions held in Berlin, into the HQ of Kompakt Records, alongside Ewan Pearson. Yes, him, the man who put his unmistakable signature on Jagwar Ma’s and M83’s brightest production, just to mention a couple of names. What more matters, though, is that ‘Hit The Light’ is the brainchild of a couple of guys who are desperately seeking some light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s not euphemistical, in this case, to say that this record comes to light from the darkness, like an act of renewal.
There are several nuances, spread among the 11 tracks. ‘Overflow’ is a soft intro. ‘Turn’, on the other hand, is a sudden turn of the page which took me unprepared and I’ll tell you why. The initial guitar riff reminds me of an old and iconic song by U2, ‘Lemon’ (from ‘Zooropa’, 1993). It all lasts a couple of seconds, but it’s enough to win me.
Ten Fé‘s creativity spreads among the other numbers. ‘Elodie’ and ‘Twist Your Arm’ add some consistency to the songwriting; ‘Another Way’ sounds very much like a ballad coming straight from the ’80s. At the end of the day, the whole thing resonates with a journey the duo are taking us to. A sort of a road-trip, where Ben and Leo seem to share the driving as they each take lead on their own compositions.
The indietronic soundscape built up is quite simple yet enjoyable, and brings the listeners through the several other chapters (‘Don’t Forget’, ‘Follow’, ‘Make Me Better’ and ‘Burst are other little gems), at different paces and through different emotional layers. Velvet vocals and a tidy structure make this record quite peculiar. The lyrics, again, are drenched with that pursuit of happiness and the urgency to see something positive out of a future mostly described as dreadful and obscure.
“The dawn is opening / And we’re on our way again / And the road will open up, this isn’t how it ends”, Ten Fé sing on ‘In The Air’. Here’s the answer, after all, this isn’t how it ends. There’s some work to do, out there. All we have to do is roll up our sleeves, believe in our dreams, hit the light and… have faith. Ten fé, indeed.
Some Kinda Love / [PIAS] | 2017
Tracklist & Stream