Friends of Friends
I think this might actually be my record of the year, and that’s saying something considering some of the amazing albums I’ve heard since January 1st 2009.
I do love punk rock, but a lot of the time it can be a bit staid and unexciting - it’s not exactly the most innovation filled genre, it must be said. And it’s also fair to say that Friends of Friends aren’t the most innovative band in the world - there’s nothing really new brought to the table here.
Imagine a band that’s grown up with No Idea staples like Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike, and maybe just a hint of Uncle Tupelo and a big dollop of Avail. That isn’t afraid to let their 90s indie influences (Archers of Loaf, maybe a bit of Sonic Youth) shine through, as well as a nubbin of Leatherface and a soupçon of Kid Dynamite.
Imagine that, then imagine it being better than you imagined. Tricky though that may seem. Vocals that have just the right balance of gravel and melody. Intertwining buzzsaw guitars and gentle, almost Mogwai-esque harmonies, held together by twisty basslines and pounding drums which veer from hardcore pummelling to complex delicate fills at the drop of a hat. Anthemic choruses that get the blood pumping and the fists in the air. And if you think it all sounds a little bit disparate then prepare to be disillusioned - it all fits together with a coherence and style that most bands can’t manage in a much more straightforward album.