Friends are an indie pop group from Brooklyn. Fronted by the eccentric Samantha Urbani, they formed in 2010 and released their debut album last year. Their sound can be described as mutant funk, alternative rock and disco, so if you sit down with their LP Manifest! be prepared to be taken on quite an exhausting journey.
Their tracks and lyrics range from being completely relatable , such as the honest ‘Home‘, an ex who tries to use you as a booty call as he misses the intimacy of your relationship; intelligent yet surreal. Contrast this to the total nonsense of ‘Ideas on Ghosts‘ as Samantha pines that she doesn’t know how to be a spirit. Bizarre? Yes. Brilliant? Also yes. The composition of this obscure and trippy track is fantastic, it has a delicious 80s vibe and the retro nature is present throughout, just check out the artwork.
One thing I will warn you about Friends is that to really appreciate their music you must dispel all preconceptions about the genres that they drift in and out of. ‘Proud/Ashamed‘ is obscure, synth layered and melodic but once you scrape away the facade it’s actually just a pure and polished pop song. Whilst the most trippy track is easily ‘Va Fan Gör Du‘, this has indie anthem written all over it with its thumping drum beats and catchy riffs. The band’s most commercial track is the sexy ‘I’m His Girl‘, a single that oozes class and attitude and sizzles like a hot Brooklyn sidewalk; Sam tones down the crazy here to deliver a sultry and sophisticated alt rock gem.
The highlight for me is the closing track ‘Mind Control‘, it tries to blend together indie, pop, electro and funk all at once and what you’re left with is an awesome and powerful song. This track is undeniably interesting, intense vocals and a melange of instruments that shouldn’t work together but strangely do. This single is bought to life when performed within the band’s live set, as Sam really lets go of her inhibitions and screeches out the brooding chorus.
I have a real adoration for Friends, as at the core, they know how to make good pop music, yet whilst constructing Manifest! they decided to bend and break all the rules and created a really innovative album. Any artist who isn’t afraid to push boundaries before they are even established deserves respect, I can’t recommend this LP enough and I’m hoping for a tour later this year. Watch this space.