Friends - Manifest!

It’s always great when bands have an interesting anecdote about what uncontrollable forces of nature brought them together creatively. For Brooklyn-based, multi-instrumentalists Friends, fronted by childhood besties Samantha Urbani and Lesley Hann, it was an infestation of bed bugs in Hann’s apartment that caused the five of them to cohabit for a week. Initially named Perpetual Crush, they played their first show in Urbani’s back yard, just six days after forming; a year later, with a much more un-Googleable name, Friends have a BBC Sound of 2012 nomination under their belt and a trendy hipster following that transcends Atlantic boundaries.

Manifest! is their debut, a fun-filled album of catchy hooks, funky bass and unadulterated pop melodies. Experimental, as all debuts should be, it opens with ‘Sorry’, unapologetic in its hand percussion chorus, Urbani’s vocals alluring and demanding at the same time: "I want you to come over to my house". Friends can’t help but seem like a band lost in time: there is a distinct 90s feel to their music and style, and Urbani’s lyrics seem nostalgic for a lost adolescence, all casual relationships (‘I’m His Girl’), lust (‘Friend Crush’), and fuck-yous to sex-wanting exes (‘Home’). ‘Van Fan Gor Du’ is semi-Swedish ("you’re an asshole" doesn’t quite sound that Scandinavian) and brilliantly animated, radiating sassy attitude and a tambourine infused chorus. Final track ‘Mind Control’ is an album highlight, probably something to do with it being mixed by the gold-fingered Paul Epworth, but also due to its prospective foregrounding; this is probably one of the most developed songs on the album, polished but still emanating their signature sound, casting a light on great things to come.

Overall

8

out of 10

Last updated: 18/04/2018 08:28:27

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