Monday, September 22, 2008

Thursday - Friday - Saturday - + Friendly Foes "Born Radical" Review


Mason Proper - CD Release Show at the Blind Pig


Robots, beats, punk rock, 3-D animation and a giant cat...


Mick Bassett & The Marthas, with Prussia and Four Hour Friends - at the Magic Stick!


here's an album review from the Friendly Foes' Ryan Allen - on the Friendly Foes new album

and, here's the humble Cutz:

Friendly Foes - Born Radical (show, 9/26, Berkley Front)

Friendly Foes – Born Radical - GangPlank

Sometimes, if a band takes an ludicrous adversarial stance toward the genre it seems oh-so-strongly marked by, they end up hindering their sound and draining it down to a lucid, thin layer of preoccupied pap.

But, local trio Friendly Foes readily embrace, in self-aware fatalism, that the furled sun-burst bounce and shimmery hooks and headfirst 'ooh-ooh-yeah-'harmonizing of their debut Born Radical, rings unavoidably close to mid-1970’s-born rock energy-focused philosophy: power-pop.

“Is it right?” sings guitarist Ryan Allen on ‘Breakfast Burrito,’ “…what do we care?” Indeed, what should we care? The faster the artist comes to terms with inevitable popular perceptions and those daffy damned genre-labels, the faster they transcend it – the faster the listener the listener starts really enjoying it.

Maybe it’s a knee-jerk critic reaction: a band takes itself too seriously and you immediately see through them, resent them, maybe wanna tear em down. The flipside, a band calls itself out and beats you to the punch and then you’re refreshed, intrigued almost as if challenged, to find more in their sound, delve into the lyrics, bang your head a little more loosely to the booming beats, the rattling tambourine and cymbal crashing cut ups, the wide-arch hip-rockin bass booms, the straight-to-the-point guitar hooks.

And this is certainly the case with Born Radical, as, here I am, spinning it for the 18th time as I write this…and no, it’s not rapt with metaphor or political commentary or romantic narratives; there’s no math-rock polyrhythms or tribal wipe-out solos or an overload of pedals. The lyrics are, in fact, very anecdotal and casually reflective, mostly serving as personal histories for Allen and bassist Liz Wittman and drummer Brad Elliott in their whirled waltzing days in the trenches of balancing band life, day-jobs and an eventual overall disregard of social bullshit in the name of seeking a liberating good time.

The drums are all tumbling irresistible swing, the bass is a warm driving heartbeat and the guitars—though they show flares of the sinewy punky vigor of Allen’s past (and present, in Thunderbirds Are Now!), they’re often simple jangly strums or striking aerodynamic shreds of energy.

But, going off that, there is definitely a punk residue in the mix, as well as the stumble-n-shrug down-home heartfelt indie-rock, and some streetwise singer-songwriter groove waxing down-to-earth poeticisms of urban nausea and getting y(ou)r shit together. No need for lofty melodrama or self-righteousness, this trio’s been there before – in band life; this time they knew exactly what they wanted and, as nonchalantly as changing t-shirts, slipped into a great formula. And not just power pop! Though, I’ms till not sure if its their own beguiling self-confidence and chemistry that drives me to expound more in this batch of ditties, maybe there’s something here to really get lost in – something to keep you coming back. Here we go, spin number 19 for me…

words: milo

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