There’s a certain magic to making truly catchy music that sticks — something you’ve either got or you havent. In the case of Brooklyn outfit Friends (@afriendzone), they have that intangible gift positivly glowing throughout the majority of their debut record Manifest.
The most distinct and noticeable element from Friends’ first full-length is is the number of musical hats the band boldly tries on. Granted, not all of them fit, but the ones that do suit them down to the ground. Manifest acts like a smorgasbord of styles, which includes strokes of afrobeat, R&B, 80′s pop and dense, grunge-soundingrock. The latter, which rears it’s head in “Ruins”, is a prime example of something that dosent really sit well with the group, though they deserve points for trying nonetheless. What does work incredibly well, however, is their more pop-like aesthetic. Slinky bass grooves, bouncy rhythms and Samantha Urbani’s sassy vocals provide a rich collection of funky and infectious songs.
With tracks like “Friend Crush”, “Mind Control” and “I’m His Girl”, your body may have to struggle with a natural urge to dance (if I were you, I’d just give in — it’s a lot more fun that way). Despite exuding plenty of energy, there are a few moments on this record where Friends show a little soul. “A Thing Like This” and “Stay Dreaming” melt slowly with a sense of beautiful whimsy. One brings to the table a crisp, sun-kissed slice of summery delight, while the other spins a yarn of vintage R&B complete with a sunny disposition of it’s very own.
By taking a somewhat experimental and varied approach to their debut, Friends demonstrate both their interestes and, more importantly, what they’re capable of. As with most things, though, by throwing a great deal towards the wall, not everything sticks. There are some broad strokes to be found on the album with certain loose hanging areas, but as a whole, Manifest serves as a pretty great first look at a band with bags of potential.