Friday 8 June 2012

Friends - Manifest!

Friend Crush makes for a very suitable opening to the Brooklyn band's debut album.  The chorus lyric "I wanna be your friend" invites us in, as well as the title providing a subtle link to Friends' previous name Perpetual Crush.

More so, it's exemplary of the band's style, along with previous single I'm His Girl.  Their music is difficult to define, combining elements of indie, punk, funk and disco into a unique sound; an intoxicating mix of female vocals, grinding guitars, melodic basslines and rhythmic percussion.  There's also a smattering of synths, as in Friend Crush amongst others.  I'm His Girl has become a striking anthem for the band, creating a sexy mood for lazy evenings in the throws of twilight.

These two singles are without doubt the best tracks of 'Manifest!'.  The other tracks don't have the same allure, though there's still plenty to enjoy.  A Thing Like This stands out for its woozy mix of slide bass, jangling guitars, synth melodies and hazy falsetto vocal - perfect festival material.  Second track Sorry has an ethnic feel with its clattering percussion and grunting "ooh's" and "aah's", the yearning chorus "I want you to come over to my house" providing a memorable hook.  Later there's penultimate track Va Fan Gor Du - an upbeat party track that, after a few ciders, will have people dancing in fields right through the summer.  Other tracks are less successful, such as next single Mind Control with its squeaking chorus and the clattering Ruins.

The production has a lo-fi feel to it, which brings pros and cons.  On the one hand, it adds a rawness to the music, an element of retro nostalgia, that contrasts to the precedence of slickly produced RnB and sounds more like a live recording.  On the other hand, the album does lack some polish, with the band not always sounding as tight as they could.

'Manifest!' is very much on one level, proving that Friends are very good at what they do, with a unique sound they rarely stray from.  This is sure to be a hit summer album, but its popularity may fade with the setting sun.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Friend Crush
* A Thing Like This
* I'm His Girl

Listen: 'Manifest!' is available now.

Watch: Friends will be playing a number of gigs across the UK and US in the coming months.