Ten Fé are named after the Spanish for ‘have faith’, so it’s no coincidence that as I rock up to a sold-out Oslo in Hackney tonight, I have almost irrefutable confidence that this is going to be an absolutely smashing gig.
Ten Fé are dual-lead singers Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan, and they’ve been hovering on my radar since The Great Escape festival back in May last year. In which time, they have recorded their debut album in Berlin with producer Ewan Pearson (who has worked with the likes of M83, Foals and Depeche Mode) and built a steadily expanding following of fresh-faced, fashionable fans (I would LOVE to fit this description but had to buy new jeans just to be allowed past the doorman).
Recent comparisons by some in the music press to the 1975 are, to be honest, wide of the mark, at best, and mildly insulting, at worst. Yes, they’ve got that atmospheric radio-friendly indie-pop down to a T, but what sets them apart is their approach to songwriting which has distinctly more maturity, authenticity and grace than most from that ilk. And what this translates to is an intelligent combination of pleasing piano hooks, majestic synths, and memorable melodies underpinned by lyrics that hold their own.
Oslo, at 375 capacity and a new mainstay for bands on the rise, is the perfect venue for the duo, who cut an effortlessly cool stance on stage, and are joined tonight by a bassist, synth player, and a drummer reminiscent both in technique and aesthetics, of a young Mick Fleetwood. They are accomplished and natural live; providing dreamy harmonisations which combine Moorhouse’s rich baritone with Duncan’s floaty falsetto to create a sonic blend smoother than an artisan latte, and guitar riffs which are warmer and crunchier than most breakfast offerings.
Set stand-outs include single ‘Elodie’ and the absolutely sublime ‘Another Way’, and they finish with a shrewd cover of Underworld’s Born Slippy (NUXX) which, as one guy in the queue for the toilets afterwards put it they, “totally owned”.
Ten Fé are on a UK and European tour now, including Cardiff tonight (11th) and Manchester on 17th. March.
‘Hit the Light’ is out now on Some Kinda Love.