This year, Friends have been labelled as a 'Band to Watch' by the shadow puppets NME and included on the BBC 'Sound of 2012' poll. That's the footballing equivalent of signing for Manchester City from Swansea City. At Summer Sundae Weekender earlier in the year, I saw Friends perform their highly anticipated set. They're said to be one of Brooklyn's finest exports, however after their performance at SSW, it could have been two guys from Jersey Shore and two girls from a The Cure tribute act up. They released their debut album Manifest! in June, we're just going to listen to "Ruins" for the sake of my ears.
Listening to this track brings to mind the forward and sexual vocals of Uffie, mixed with the obscurity of a krautrock artist. Is this a good thing? I'll let you be the judge of that. In the live video above, vocalist Samantha Urbani screams. Something Avey Tare does successfully with Animal Collective, but this is just plain dull and amateur. Urbani does have a respectable voice at least. The bass performed by the (at SSW) see-through top Goth kid Lesley Hann is ineffective and out of time in places. It's hard to criticise Friends without taking into account their image, because it seems they're one of those fashionista artists like Bjork or Nico. Not that I'm comparing Friends to the likes of these fantastic artists.
"Ruins" does have some nice features and it sure does blend genres from time to time. I can't help but notice the lack of musical quality both with the vocals and the bass. The guitar work is very post-punk like, but at times it sounds completely off-putting. This isn't for the krautrock fan or the post-punk fan. I would go as far as saying this isn't for people who listen to indie pop, indie rock and simply pop. Friends and Ruins in particular are for people that expect something peculiar about that they're listening to. A bit extra, a little bit more image. It's not for me, but you might like it. Is this what the kids listen to these days?