Album Review: Friends – Manifest!

By on Tuesday, 12th June 2012 at 12:00 pm

It’s hard not to re-read the album cover of ‘Manifest!’ to check that you’re not listening to a new record from The Go! Team. But don’t worry, your eyes do not deceive you. Percussion-centric and bassline-heavy, Friends‘ debut album is a distorted guitar or two away from being straight from The Go! Team cutting room floor.

The New York-based 5-piece band have already gathered significant praise for their indie/funk/punk/disco/pop music, the variety in genre reflective of how different the band members’ backgrounds are; born in different parts of the United States, they came together in an apartment in Brooklyn. ‘Manifest!’ is made up of indie vocals, funk percussion, punk distortion, disco synths and the catchiness of a pop track. It’s a mix that works surprisingly well, carefully avoiding sounding like several musicians have rehearsed separately then come together for the day to record an album.

Throughout the 12 tracks, one think that becomes apparent is the talents of Connecticut-born singer Samantha Urbani. Her vocals are the thing that sets the group apart from The Go! Team. With instrumentals as strong as they are on ‘Manifest!’, Urbani does a fantastic job of keeping up with the rest of the band and doesn’t once seem overwhelmed by the percussion. I would liken her voice to Katie White’s vocals in The Tings Tings but, you know… good.

All the tracks on the album blend well together too, rather than coming across as an album of singles. Friends’ debut has definitely lived up to the massive hype that the band has accumulated in the previous months, including the lead-out track on ‘Manifest!,’ ‘Mind Control’ (previous Video of the Moment here), being named ‘The Hottest Record In The World’ by Zane Lowe. It’s a deserved title for what I believe to be the stand-out track on the album. Curiously placed at the end of the record, at nearly 5 minutes long, it is the longest song of all 12. With plenty of hand claps, “yeahs” and a beautifully repetitive bassline, ‘Mind Control’ takes its influences from ’70s funk, and it’s just a brilliant end to a great album.

‘Manifest!’ is a wonderful debut from Friends, one that lives up to the hype, and more. Listening to it gives me the same sensation I got back in 2008 when I was obsessed with Vampire Weekend‘s debut. Overall, an album full of interesting bass lines, refreshing vocals and not to mention more percussion than you can shake a vibra-slap at.


Friends’ debut ‘Manifest!’ is out now on Lucky Number.

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[…] yet probably one of the better bets of British festival offerings over Jubilee weekend… Friends and their debut 'Manifest!' Tom has a listen to the Brooklyn band's first album on Lucky N… TGTF rocks Liverpool Sound City The Temper Trap, Clock Opera and Dear Prudence grace our stage […]

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