Friday 8 February 1991

Electronica&Roll review of 'Oranges and Lemons'

From Electronica&Roll February 8th 2021

How to face a return to the musical arena eleven years after your last release and with a timeless hit created at the beginning of your career that may never reach the same impact in the collective memory? I can't imagine the doubts and questions that Alastair Douglas and Rhys Evans must have had to ponder in order to resume The MFA, a project that seemed totally exhausted seven years ago with each member of the group dedicated to other pursuits far from music. A global pandemic has brought them together in a studio since the publication of Throw It Back (We Will Destroy You) released in 2009 on Border Community. Now the German label Traum is the place where this return has come from that nobody expected, that nobody asked for and that, nevertheless, is more than welcome for all of us who let ourselves be seduced by its melodic sound for more than 15 years.

In this work, made up of three original tracks and a remix by Extrawelt, we are not going to find anything new that will make us raise our hands to our heads, nor are we before a shameless rehash of already well-trodden ideas. What they offer us is an update of the sound with which The MFA conquered the ears of lovers of progressive-house, which has largely resulted in what is known today as melodic techno. And with one foot more in the past than in the present, by the way, is where this work from The MFA wins you over. It is clear that the London duo understands dance music in a very particular way and although they want to update themselves, they have not lost their mojo and they bring back sensibilities and tones that take us back to another era.

 'Orange And Lemons' is that proggy sound in which the stylistic borders are blurred but where the melodies are not negotiated. It is inevitable not to look back and conceive this production as a song in which you go through different states of mind but which always seeks the complicit ecstasy of a dance floor. A track that is a nuisance that cannot be played under normal conditions in a club. And to which as if that were not enough, a remix of Extrawelt is added, another of the old guard of Border Community, even more incisive and playful if possible.

But talking about The MFA is having to talk about 'The Difference it Makes' whether you like it or not. All their work will be in the shadow of that hymn. And they know it. That's why it's a great pleasure to listen to a production like 'Panacea' on this EP, which could be the dark reverse of that immortal track that incited the fullest happiness. Nine minutes of pure travel in the same key as their masterpiece but with a totally different look, with a softer light and less pastel. All the elements of his hit are here from heavenly vocals to his hypnotic bass lines and beats that have more than reasonable similarities but the producers, like conjurers, make you look away with the amount of FX detail and sound layers. What do they use. All nostalgic will outline a silly smile when they finish listening to it.
And perhaps the hidden jewel of the EP is 'One Way' where we can sense where The MFA might go in the future. An animated theme that mutates and transforms but where the pulse is never lost. Possibly the most balanced cut and with which this return really is makes more sense than we can think.
What is clear is that whatever they had they have retained. And The MFA have garnered their laurels showing that they have not lost their mojo.

Originally published here in Spanish

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