In Fryars' new album, Power, the London musician (real name Ben Garrett) makes mid-tempo his mantra. The 24-year-old expands his breadth of references since Dark Young Hearts in 2009, flirting with sounds popularised by Elton John and Billy Joel ("Don't Make It Hard On Yourself") and trying on the harkening intimacy of James Blake and The xx (“Love So Cold”). Like his labelmates on Fiction Records, Tame Impala, Fryars never waxes too nostalgic, taking things sonically to the point of pastiche, but never tumbling into oblivion. The loping and dawdling "On Your Own" with its dirge piano calls to mind The Thrills, who mined a distinct country rock motif, while the cerebral "China Voyage" is reminiscent of something even weirder: the kooky ballad “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka (1971). Spinning his genre-bending rolodex of references, Fryars assembles a strong bibliography that supports a purely original work.
Power is out on 17 Novemberthrough Fiction Records