Friends “Manifest!” album review

friends manifest

Named as one of NME’s top 50 artists of 2011 and nominated for the BBC’s poll ‘Sound of 2012’ Friends is a band with an eclectic and funky sound. Originally from Brooklyn, New York they’ve already released three singles from their album Manifest! and Huw Stephens selected the third single “Mind Control” as his Hottest Record in the World.

Formed in 2010 and fronted by Lesley Hann and Samantha Urbani the band began as an extension of Urbani’s home recordings, which she had done for years but kept to herself due to stage fright. But this was to be the year it all changed, she was ready to get her music out there and initially played for her friends. A year on and they find themselves performing in front of growing crowds in some of the biggest UK festivals including Reading and Leeds.

Manifest! is a debut album from a strong quintet who are going to be around for quite some time, creating an exciting sound that both men and women will fall for. The record is simple; a strong bassline, cool tones performed effortlessly and melancholic lyrics is all it needs.

Starting the album off is the track “Friend Crush,” and the clue is in the title, with lyrics such as “I wanna be your friend/ wanna ask your advice/ wanna plan something nice for the weekend.” A good start to the feisty album, the heavy drums, soft vocals and abrupt endings carry on track after track. “Home” injects a bit of paradise and funk, laden with bongo drums and high notes from Urbani it is one that will be played at drunken house parties for some time.

Number eight is one of the better known tracks, “I’m His Girl” changes the album mood, the voices become even softer, almost seductive. “When you see me walking around with him/ I’m not just another chick” show that this is a warning to other girls, it shows the feisty sprit this powerful American band possess.

The album ends with “Mind Control,” a final flourish to a strong debut record. The track is reminiscent of 1980s disco, maybe a somewhat slower version of the funk decade. “I don’t need your money/ I don’t need your prescriptions” is an ending statement to an empowering and fun album, one that is not spectacular, but different from anything else in 2012.

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