The music of Friends, a hipstertastic band from Brooklyn that prove to be nearly as addictive to listen to as they are challenging to Google, has been described in the past as some form of mixed tape. And, as pretentious as that may sound at first listening to their debut album, Manifest!, will initially surprise you with its musical diversity. From the contagious funk that pushes forward with seductive bass lines to gentle flowing melodies that intertwine with ethereal electronica, the album packs it all in masterfully and ties it up with a bow of strong percussion and sharp lyricism.
The success of Manifest! is in no small part down to both the multi-instrumentalist nature of Friends and the sheer dynamism of their lead singer, Samantha Urbani. Whether she’s laying into a passing scrub in “Va Fan Gör Du”, rapping away like a “well-mannered Minaj” according to NME, or effortlessly confiding on “A Thing Like This”, her personality unites a collection of songs that could easily have felt musically discordant. The fact that Manifest! so casually alternates between Boney M and Sister Sledge’s love child and a far superior indie-version of All Saints is a testament to both Urbani’s vocal prowess and the strength of writing from Friends.
Manifest! is the kind of album that could easily be resigned to forming the soundtrack of trendy coffee shops but it rightly deserves your full attention with its brash set pieces, smooth production and sharp writing. Following on from three effortlessly cool singles, “I’m His Girl”, “Friend Crush’” and the upcoming “Mind Control”, Manifest! proves to be a worthy recipient of all the hype Friends are receiving. Good luck googling them, though.
Friends’ debut album, Manifest!, is out on June 4th.