After three years of relative quiet, and a succession of line-up changes, Glasgow based Friends in America return with their first full release since 2013.
Self-recorded and released EP Be in Love sees founding members Matthew Rawlings and Hamish Black, refashion the alt-pop outfit as a duo.
On first listen opening track, and record highlight, ‘Bad Pint’ seems to be a hazy, dream-like exercise in free association, but there’s far more on offer here than just vacuous dream-pop.
Pacey guitar, and intentionally fuzzy vocals from Rawlings articulate a sense of breathless, panicked self-doubt, and the oh so familiar fear that the life rapidly passing us by is not quite the one we imagined.
‘Souvenir’ continues in much the same vein; a nostalgic ode to former youth, set to repetitive, foreboding bass.
In contrast, ‘You Are’ marks a development in both theme and style for the band.
Here the mundane and every day are set in stark, joyful contrast to the vast ‘bigger picture’, in an electronica-tinged reworking of the previously released alt-rock track.
In an interesting, if somewhat strange move, the record closes with two covers.
Joanna Newsom’s ‘Peach Plum Pear’ is reinvented as a piece of rather lovely pared back acoustic indie; stripped bare of Newsom’s characteristic jaggy edges and vocal acrobatics.
It took me about half a day before I finally figured out that closing track ‘Grow Old With You’ is that song Adam Sandler performs in The Wedding Singer.
I’d love to know the thinking behind this particular choice, and was left craving more original material from the duo.
Lucky then that plans for a full-length follow up, to be released later in the year, are already well under way.
Words: Kat McNicol