Fickle Friends hail from the sunny seaside town of Brighton and this is evident in the summery aesthetic of the scintillating synth pop they supply. This was the band’s first ever performance in Scotland, let alone Edinburgh, and they went home encouraged by the warm responsiveness of the crowd to their infectious sound.
Granted, the set list was inexorably short seeing as the group are relatively new – their first single was released in 2014 – but this did not detract as the quality never let up.
Fickle Friends were supported by two other acts; alt pop four-piece Indigo Velvet and the synth-driven rock duo Monogram. The former, Indigo Velvet, were fantastic. They demonstrated real presence and were locked together impeccably. Particular praise must be attributed to the playful lead guitar; the crisp, clear chorus-glazed licks permeated every song with their witty articulations. Energetic drumming with subtle bongo and woodblock flourishes helped to further define a luscious and interesting sound.
Monogram, consisting of a drummer and multi-instrumentalist (stage left and right respectively), made use of sequencing and a highly technical setup to recreate live their complex full-on soundscape, alongside the more traditional rock guitar. The frontman had good patter with the audience, which broke up their intense offerings into which he launched his entire being. Sequencers and gadgets were integral to every song, and while interesting to watch, this did draw attention to the feeling that this was a “studio band” involved in the reconstruction of something carefully formulated and audio engineered, rather than something more organic.
The headliners, Fickle Friends delivered an uplifting and engaging set. Their music is a pristine, sublime blend of indie pop impossible not to dance to, and dance the audience did. Fickle Friends are imbued with the sheen and inventiveness of Bombay Bicycle Club’s electronic exploration So Long, See You Tomorrow mixed in with the intelligent synth-pop sensibilities of the likes of Hot Chip. Unlikely to shy away from euphoric lead noodling or the gnarliest bass grooves, they retain a sort of eighties sparkle alongside a thoroughly contemporary relevance. Compact and tantalising pop tune after pop tune given voice by an infallibly anthemic female vocalist made me grin from ear to ear.