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Filthy Friends - Invitation

  by Kimberly Bright

published: 20 / 9 / 2017

Filthy Friends - Invitation
Label: Kill Rock Stars
Format: CD


Fantastic debut album from unlikely super group Filthy Friends which has members from R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, King Crimson, Young Fresh Fellows and Fastbacks

Filthy Friends are a multi-generational super group comprised of singer and guitarist Corin Tucker from Sleater-Kinney, guitarist Peter Buck from R.E.M., guitarist Kurt Bloch from the Fastbacks, Scott McCaughey, bassist for Young Fresh Fellows and pop collective the Minus 5, and Bill Rieflin, drummer for King Crimson. This unlikely bunch, ranging from prog to post punk, started working together in 2012 with the intention of doing live Bowie covers. They began intermittently releasing a few singles that provided tantalizing peeks at the potential of this collaboration. It’s probably the inclusion of Tucker that makes this band stand out from other super groups, and it’s impossible to see the experiment working with a different vocalist and lyricist. Buck, Rieflin, and McCaughey have already worked together in the Minus 5 and the Venus 3. Fans of golden era 90's guitar-heavy indie rock will love this album. All the best things about early indie rock are here. In fact, any excesses tilt in the forgivable direction of 70's glam rock, as on the T. Rex-inspired 'Come Back Shelley', about a teen-age runaway Tucker knew in high school, which is simply fantastic. It also sounds like nothing else that has come before, including music by any of their previous bands. The production is slick, avoiding the dated, plodding, fuzzy sound that plagues too many indie releases from the 90's. The accustomed messiness and rough edges of Sleater-Kinney, Heavens to Betsy, or the Corin Tucker Band are, however, missing entirely, which causes a jolt of culture shock when hearing Tucker’s polished vocals. There are moments here when she doesn’t sound like herself. No disrespect to any of Tucker’s other collaborators, but perhaps the disparity of the musicianship of this group of musicians and that her other bands really is striking enough to make her sound like a full-voiced 70's glam rocker – and she really does channel Marc Bolan to a wonderful degree – rather than a post punk howl. Peter Buck’s guitar playing is energetic and exuberant, with a surprising freedom and low-key confidence straight from Reckoning. 'Windmill' is his homage to Television that should make Richard Lloyd smugly pleased. Tucker’s thought-provoking but sometimes unsettling lyrics are most evident on 'No Forgotten Son', inspired by the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the Black Lives Matter movement, the anti-Trump 'Despierta' screed (“Holding onto the past won’t make it repeat/It’s time to get up, I think you’re in my seat,” Tucker sings), included on the '30 Days, 30 Songs' compilation (now '1000 Days, 1000 Songs'). They describe 'Second Life' as “a mash-up of 60's downer vibes and rootsy rumblings,” which is completely accurate and goes for 'Faded Afternoon' as well. It’s unfortunate that their cover of Roxy Music’s 'Editions of You' (B-side to 'Any Kind of Crowd') was not included here. The pop-infused Record Story Day single 'Any Kind of Crowd' and 'The Arrival' beg to be played on a car stereo on a summer day with the windows down. Hopefully this album will not be a one-off, and Filthy Friends can continue to be indie fans’ favourite new comrades.

Track Listing:-
1 Despierta
2 Windmill
3 Faded Afternoon
4 Any Kind of Crowd
5 Second Life
6 The Arrival
7 Come Back Shelley
8 No Forgotten Son
9 Brother
10 You and Your King
11 Makers
12 Invitation

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