‘I’m His Girl’ by Friends was widely regarded to be one of the best singles of last year and it remains a highlight on their debut album Manifest! which came out a little while ago. I don’t usually post remix tracks, but this reworking of the track by UK R’n’B rising stars AlunaGeorge, featuring Caribbean grooves, 8-bit electronics and a steady build up to the original’s amazing riff was just too good to pass up.
What can we thank bedbugs for? Sores? Itchiness? Being temporarily homeless while the fumigators move in? Well, let’s add something that’s not sarcastic to the list. We can thank bedbugs for helping to form Friends. Last summer, Samantha Urbani and Lesley Hann moved in with some more Friends one week after the little critters had infested their place in Bushwick and a band was born. They’re about to launch their monster of a debut single, ‘Friend Crush’, on to the world and if justice is done, we’ll all be hailing bedbugs as our kings in a few months.
Friends are a curious bunch: they suffer from a kind of wonderful identity crisis. From the drums at the beginning of ‘Friend Crush’ you might assume they’ll be something like New Young Pony Club. But then Urbani’s vocals kick in and she sounds just that little bit like Lykke Li. Deceptively simple lyrics layer over equally deceptive melodies, yet the multiple spins of ‘Friend Crush’ reveals hidden depths. It has a detached yet effortlessly cool nature, similar to that of the off-kilter pop of Little Dragon, but it’s not vacuous, it’s down to earth, accessible and believable electro-pop for those who shun OTT synths. ‘Feelin Dank’ gets by simply on harmonious, sultry vocals and percussion. It’s simple and very effective. Who needs guitars and bass when you can just make good use of a tambourine? And if you still need some further persuasion, you know you’ve got a quality wonky-pop band when they come from the same label as Darwin Deez: Lucky Number Music.
When Friends release their debut LP it’ll surely be bringing back memories of the summer, including those pesky bedbugs. Just remember to thank them when you hear the sheer brilliance of this band.