The dolorous sway and subdued tempos of Fanfarlo's 2009 debut, Reservoir, too often deposited the London-based chamber-pop group in the bastard neighborhood frequented by bands like Coldplay. They avoid all that on Rooms Filled With Light, with more buoyant melodies and less overweening grandiosity. While it's every bit as baroque as their debut, the album's sound field is less crowded and the textures more varied. Simply put, it's a brighter, less stuffy record. And it's less incumbent on songwriting than on the intriguing sounds bounding across the musical background (credit producer Ben Allen for keenly balancing the rich orchestral textures). That's not to downplay the role of sharpening musicianship and increased musical maturity, even if individual songs don't stick out. As a whole, this Room is delightful. — Chris Parker
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