Friends – Manifest!

January 01, 1970

(Fat Possum)


A group of 20-somethings living together in a New York apartment,
musing on relationships? Yep, we’ve seen that before. Yet, the band Friends doesn’t feature any of
those nerdy Gellers; these five-member Brooklyn
co-eds are all Phoebes on high. Lust is the subtext of the anonymous “Friend
Crush” the band grows doe-eyed about on the lead track off their debut album. “I
wanna ask your advice on a weekday/I wanna plan something nice for the
weekend,” singer Sammi Urbani pleads, as innocently as if she rehearsed her
lines in a mirror while soldiered drum beats and radio controlled guitar lines
zoom in the clouds above her.


Urbani is glitter and guts, so effervescently cool yet calm
she can carry the swagger of Karen O, CSS’s Lovefoxxx, and Corin Tucker all in
the same breath. So when she teases, “I want you to come over to my house” on track
“Sorry,” there’s no apologies and no delay. Queen bee lady aside, Friends is a
band that no doubt plays well together with a multi-instrumental A-team (Lesley
Hann, Matthew Molnar, Nikki Shapiro, and drummer Oliver Duncan) who have no
shortage of mood enhancing talent.


The Hypercolors on this album blend Scarface heat on “A thing Like This,” Tom Tom Club digitalism on
“I’m His Girl,” riot grrrl grit on “Ruins,” and a familiar Yeah Yeah Yeahs
tribal howl on “Mind Control.” Sure, influences run wild on the album but each
three-minute zinger is an aptly
kilned piece so crossly pollinated, it should be studied. The band’s airiness
makes it ripe for the summer, but we’ll see if the blog buzz can carry past
this season’s trends or die they way of the coiffed “Rachel.”


Crush,” “Mind Control” SELENA FRAGASSI

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