FRIEND ROULETTE - ON HER OWN TONIGHT
Clearly, no one bet on black.
Rebecca A. Gowns: Here’s the latest offering from a Brooklyn chamber-pop band with a small following. I like it! It’s hypnotic and dreamy with drums that go from pounding to clickclacking and back again, pushing the super-sweet harmonies and musical wiggling into a real nugget of a song. It’s slightly too long, but I appreciate what they’re doing and can forgive the bit of self-indulgence.
Iain Mew: This reminds me fiercely of Braids, with its drums which seem eager to skitter away before each sound has finished and the fact that the best description for its sound is “swirling” even before it gets lost in a full-on storm at the end. It’s a great trick to pull off, and if Matthew Meade’s voice here is not as enchanting as Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s, well, very few are, and his fragility on the "In My Life"-sounding bridge works well in its own way.
Brad Shoup: Oh no, Animal Collective is now a foundational text! So is the reverb’d action of Local Natives, Real Estate, etc., but the rancorous sax implies some Paw Tracks-style chaos. Riding the sax steps is great fun, at least until it takes me to the deadly couplet “and if the stars are all aligned/I’d go to sleep.” I’m still trying to figure out the reverb-heavy stuff: is Friend Roulette afraid of displaying pop chops? Or do they like the swirl and clatter? Probably the second one, but imagine a Joyful Division and lament what’s wasted here.
Anthony Easton: Sometimes a mess is interesting, and sometimes a mess prevents one from hearing a perfectly good, quite simple declaration of affection. Mess does not mean complexity.
Doug Robertson: Take Mumford and Sons, add a sliver of summer then remove the inherent beardy annoyingness that comes the minute banjos are introduced to anything and this would likely be the end result; a blissed out seascape of a song that has a sense of freedom at odds with the darkness of the lyric. Perhaps it’s indicative of a desire to escape, perhaps it’s trying to represent the dichotomy of risk versus security that we all struggle with every day, or perhaps I’m just reading far too much into it. Either way, it’s worth taking this track for a spin to see where things end up.
Katherine St Asaph: Maybe pop has ruined me, maybe I’m just a brat, but at like eight separate points during this I wanted to chime in with toni-i-i-i-i-i-ight! we are young! It might be the key, or the guy’s voice, or how it keeps building formlessly, pausing to usher in nothing in particular — wait, I’ve already forgotten how.
Alfred Soto: What the bloody hell is this? Every Brooklyn cliché of the last six years: “tribal” beats compensating for an inability to play a steady rhythm, unmoored synthesizers, vocals settling for a generalizational overstatement in an attempt to pin down the song. This too won’t pass.
Jonathan Bogart: Do the Flaming Lips get a royalty cut?