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Title: ‘In Our Blood’
Where to find it: ‘Rituals’ (2013, B-Unique)
Performed by: Fenech-Soler
Words by: Ben Duffy

Lines have blurred between dance music and pop, but dance is and has always been a different animal to rock. I like to dance, and I also like to rock. But it has always bothered me so much when I encountered the snooty type of rock aficionado who would widely and loudly dismiss all dance music. (Dance music aficionados don’t do that. They’re too busy having fun…dancing.) While I would be the first to admit that a lot of dance music today isn’t intellectual, it’s not supposed to be. Good dance music should be judged on how well it gets the job done: does it get people on the floor to dance? If yes, a dance song can be said to be a success. And a lot of the time, the best dance songs work their magic by reminding you about that girl or boy you fancy and how much you want to be with him or her. Or by simply helping you forget your troubles for that moment in time as the infectious rhythms take you away.

During the first music festival I ever covered, Dot to Dot in Nottingham in 2009, I spoke to then rising star and frontman Ed Macfarlane of Friendly Fires, and he said he wanted their music to be escapist, because that’s what he felt successful dance music did. We got into a friendly argument over this, because up to that point, I had only been a music writer for a couple months and prior to becoming a writer, I’d viewed most music as equal in weight and I have loved so much dance prior to that, it never occurred to me that dance music would be considered lesser by a good majority of the people in the music business. Was I in for an education… It even bothers me to this day that some people view Friendly Fires as a lightweight band; I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing them and meeting them several times, and they’re just lovely, genuine people with a true love of music. They, along with any other dance / dance/pop band out today, are making music that they love and want to share with the world and no-one – not even some snooty rock aficionado – has the right to criticise them. So what if you consider the lyrics simple and escapist? If the music brings people joy, shut up.

However, you should know there are some dance songs out there that are disguised as multi-colour confetti, hands in the air without a care in the world-type affairs but in actuality, have deeper meaning and darker undercurrents. ‘In Our Blood’, Fenech-Soler’s next single, is one of those songs. Funnily enough, Fenech-Soler came out shortly after Friendly Fires did, and were immediately compared to them, even though I’ve always sensed more of a tropical vibe in Friendly Fires whereas Fenech-Soler was more hardcore electronic. Fenech-Soler were also compared to Delphic, which is ultimately how I became aware of them: a couple years ago, being native Mancunians, Delphic curated a sold-out Manchester Warehouse Project show and Fenech-Soler were one of the bands they’d personally invited to play on the night. Naturally, I investigated who Fenech-Soler were – learning that they were even more electronic than even Delphic and their electro-rock/pop were – and proceeded to fall in love with ‘Lies’ and ‘Demons’. It’s kind of strange for my head to wrap around the fact that I’ve seen Fenech-Soler in Manchester before (opening for Example a couple days after my birthday 2 years ago), yet I’ve never seen Delphic there, and perhaps even stranger, Fenech-Soler have a better handle of what’s I’m up to these days than either Friendly Fires or Delphic do. Singer and lyricist Ben Duffy has given me priceless encouragement as I’ve been Editor at TGTF, encouragement I needed and have been grateful for. Both bands took their time – a whole 3 years – to work on and release their sophomore albums this year, and in that album vs. album battle, Fenech-Soler came out on top. I’ve mentioned on this site that I’m clairvoyant: well, ‘In Our Blood’ was my choice to be their next single and this past weekend they just announced that it would be. You put two and two together 🙂

First, the words:

Verse 1
Time after time out on the floor, it’s killing us
Some nights we’re just letting go, it’s not enough
Lovers fade, lovers walk
Either way, people talk, but
Nothing else matters anymore.

Pre-chorus
Sunrise, don’t wait up,
I’m going to get lost in the dark

Chorus
I don’t want to go back home,
Silver light flooding through our bones,
Chemical in the dark, beat in our hearts,
I don’t want to go home,
Don’t want to go home.

It’s in our blood, it’s in our blood,
It’s in our blood, in our blood tonight
Even if I have to dance alone,
I don’t want to go home,
don’t want to go home

Verse 2
Follow the sounds, yeah, we’re animals
When we’re together, we never fall
We can start again, start a war
Either way, this is who we are
So let’s get lost in the dark

Chorus
I don’t want to go back home,
Silver light flooding through our bones,
Chemical in the dark, beat in our hearts,
I don’t want to go home,
Don’t want to go home.

It’s in our blood, it’s in our blood,
It’s in our blood, in our blood tonight
Even if I have to dance alone,
I don’t want to go home,
don’t want to go home

Now, the analysis:

Part of the reason I wanted to do this analysis: I was concerned those snooty rock people I mentioned earlier might draw the unnecessary (and from my best guess, also incorrect) conclusion that this song is about drugs, because yes, dance parties do tend to attract drugs and drug users. (But so do rock shows!) And I can see where this could come from – “it’s in our blood”, “silver light flooding through our bones”, “chemical in the dark” – if you had just the lyrics in front of you and had no idea who Fenech-Soler are, if they were musicians, if they wrote dance music, etc. So if you fall into that category, you’re forgiven. If you’ve never heard this song, I implore you, queue up the stream at the bottom of this post before proceeding any further. As I said in the lengthy introduction, this is a song that requires closer investigation because all is now what it seems. From the word go, this song has a party vibe, but imagine your surprise that you’re in fact we’re witnessing something far more serious!

Let’s tackle verse 1 first, shall we? Ben Duffy is taking us to…the dance floor (“time after time out on the floor”). No surprise there. But he isn’t alone. He’s bringing the apple of his eye, his lover, what have you. This is the place where they have been together so many times. And he’s using the physical act of dancing with the person he cares about as a metaphor for their relationship. “It’s killing us” isn’t meant to be taken literally, it’s saying their relationship is dying. “Some nights we’re letting go, it’s not enough” seems to indicate what’s left is the last vestiges of their relationship, and they’re barely holding on with their fingertips. What is left isn’t enough to sustain love.

“Lovers fade, lovers walk / Either way, people talk, but / Nothing else matters anymore”: he’s come to the uncomfortable conclusion that life goes on, it doesn’t matter what people are saying about us. The relationship is over, and he is being kind of fatalistic about it. The pre-chorus sounds hopeful in its build-up, as he tells the “sunrise, don’t wait up” because “I’m going to get lost in the dark”. Even though he knows the relationship is over, he can’t really face up to it in the stark light of day. So he retreats to the place where he can drown his sorrows. And dance.

Then begins what I consider one of the best, if not the best chorus on all of ‘Rituals’. (For more on the album, read my review here on TGTF.) He insists, “I don’t want to go back home”, because going home, he’d have to face the end. When you’re in a dance club and you’re a dance music fan, the incredible high you get moving your body to a song that you love is second to none. You feel it in your bones, you feel it in your veins, you feel it “in our blood”. Note he says, “in our blood”, not “in my blood” or “in your blood”. Even if when the morning comes and it’s all over, right here on the dance floor, he still feels there is still a glimmer of hope that the two of them have a chance to make it because they share this night. The saddest part of the chorus for me is when Duffy sings, “even if I have to dance alone, I don’t want to go home, don’t want to go home”: again, he’s accepted the end of the relationship, but he’s not taking this lying down. Literally. He is going to spend this night, the last moments before his heart truly has to give in, dancing and trying to delay the pain he’s already starting to feel.

Verse 2 supports the idea that he thinks there might be a chance to save what they have, because when they are a team, they’re unstoppable: “When we’re together, we never fall”. However, he’s pragmatic: “We can start again, start a war / Either way, this is who we are”: he’s saying I can’t change who I am, and I know you can’t change who you are. If we try and start over, we might just end up fighting again, and if this happens, we shouldn’t blame ourselves because this is our nature. But he offers his hand with, “So let’s get lost in the dark”, for what will likely be their last dance. If you take this all in, ‘In Our Blood’ is both celebratory and poignant. And it’s brilliant what Fenech-Soler have done here. Absolutely brilliant. (For another example of Fenech-Soler in fine form, check out earlier ‘Rituals’ single ‘All I Know’.)

Something else that great dance music gives you: hope, in the form of euphoria. I’ve been blasting my watermarked promo copy of ‘Rituals’ in my car the last couple of weeks and it’s been giving me a much needed injection of life. Whoever said dance music lacks true emotion needs a lobotomy. You just haven’t been listening to the right kind of dance. I pity the person who can’t loosen themselves up and just dance and lose themselves in the music.

Lastly, the song, updated now with its video after this article posted. I’m really pleased this will be the next single off ‘Rituals’ – it couldn’t have been any other song in my mind – and the band has promised a promo video is forthcoming soon.

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