Friends: Manifest! (Fat Possum) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #41 - YeasayerFriends


Fat Possum

Jun 06, 2012 Issue #41 - Yeasayer Bookmark and Share

Friends’ debut record has a stereoscopic cover straight out of the 1890s and a sound firmly rooted in the 1980s. Lead singer Samantha Urbani and multi-instrumentalist Lesley Hann front the Brooklyn five-piece, whose catty pop funk single “I’m His Girl” and the Missing Persons-esque “Friend Crush” made splashes in the blogosphere in late 2011. The former is their full-length’s best track, with its infectious rapped/spoken verses and relentless chime-tapping, but Manifest! manages to brew up a couple new winners. There’s a great retro-futurist synthesizer riff going on in “A Thing Like This” which perfectly jives with its warm, summery vibe. “Mind Control” breaks down into a sinister, chanting, boogie-down refrain that sounds like Tom Tom Club possessed by evil spirits.

The rest, though, comes up feeling a little hollow. Urbani sing-snarls through “Ruins,” a shrill Peaches-esque bass thumper, but with only half the attitude possessed by the elder performer. The light ballad “Sorry” is spoiled by a cloying, overly repetitive chorus. Other tracks get swallowed by the nonstop chirpiness of the synthesizers and distractingly dominant percussion, or fall into similar cyclical lyrical traps. Friends rarely hit that same seductive groove here that made their early singles so buzzworthy. It’s still a solid first LP, but with two or three less ho-hum songs it might have been something pretty special. (

Author rating: 5/10

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