I’ve been meaning to give Ten Fe’s debut album, ‘Hit The Light’, a proper listen since work travel prevented me using the tickets I’d bought to see them at Oslo, Hackney Central, back in March (a not uncommon experience for markontour). But now a summer holiday has created the space to catch up on music listening and I have become quickly entranced by their wistful indie-pop.
The stand-out tracks plough a relationship break-up furrows (a metaphor I imagine is inspired by half-watching a French farmer tend his vines while I write, only minutes after having put down a novel about nineteenth century Scottish crofters). On ‘Elodie’ the singer protests that “Giving up on love is not my style” although this particular relationship does seem over, at least for the eponymous Elodie. Later, on the instant earworm ‘In the Air’, there’s a slight shift in emphasis: “I’m not through with love / But I’m through the pain”. But still singing about it..
The Guardian’s review described Ten Fe as “Madchester meets Springsteen” and there’s definitely a certain 1989-esque baginess to the duo’s sound. The album artwork for ‘Hit the Light’ is of the same era, but evokes Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica’ as much as the Happy Mondays. Dropping back a few years, isn’t there something of Bronski Beat’s version of ‘I Feel Love’ in ‘Twist Your Arm’? More often, however, Ten Fe often sound like an upbeat version of The National, utilising Jagwar Ma’s layered sound.
So this is definitely a band that sounds like lots of other bands which I adore, but the Springsteen allusions I have yet to figure out. No matter, Ten Fee provide pure indie-pop and the world, including markontour’s little bit of it, is better for it!