Friends – Manifest


Artist: Friends
Title: Manifest!
Record Label: Lucky Number
Rating: 6.8

One of my musical brethren mentioned recently that Brooklyn five piece, Friends sound like Warpaint and Metronomy squished together through a sieve and liberally portioned out like thick gloopy jam.This comparison is pretty accurate as the chummy quintet take the elastic basslines of the latter and the seductive female vocals of the former to create their own audio conserve. The NYC band are due to deliver their debut record, Manifest! shortly, which only clarifies their love of the throbbing basslines and stripped back funky arrangements.

Funk surfaces as a key ingredient to Friends’ musical concoction, as a number of tracks strut and swagger as if funk has actually spawned them from its very being. ‘Home’ bounces along with a rubbery allure while ‘Ideas On Ghosts’ injects a spectral synth to the hip thrusting mix. One other major factor to Friends is contemporary r ‘n’ b, which delivers mixed results. ‘A Thing Like This’ pulls off a sultry smirk with the supple arrangements propelling Samantha Urbani’s vocal to the forefront of the mix. Bizarrely Urbani’s voice doesn’t sound dissimilar to Nelly Furtado delivering her Timbaland assisted best. The downside to the r ‘n’ b influence is the almost cringe-worthy ‘I’m His Girl’. On this track Urbani boasts that she is proud of being with her man and that she isn’t a controlled woman.The lyrics provoke the sort of finger waggle associated with booty shakin’ divas Destiny’s Child from back in the early 2000’s. The only saving grace of this cliché driven pap is the rather splendid cowbell breakdown in the centre of the track.

The frustrating thing with Manifest! is that all the ingredients are there to produce a special record but it seems Friends are missing that extra push to forge something extraordinary. The other persistent niggle with this album is that whereas Warpaint are effortlessly cool and Metronomy are the epitome of geek chic, Friends seem a little too ironically cool for school, not dissimilar to the hip cats at the disco, too afraid to have a good time because they are worried what people might think. Personally Friends, it’s time to cut loose and get the funk out.

Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams

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