(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Friday, March 5, 2010

CD review - Friendo, Cold Toads (2010)

"Friendo" -- the killer in No Country For Old Men, Anton Chigurh, uses the word. There are other parallels between Chigurh and this new band: a peculiar sense of off-ness and also a kind of intentional discordance. On Cold Toads (due out May 18 on Secretly Canadian), Friendo takes a deliberately primitive approach to harmony and fidelity. Some of this is certainly due to the musicians taking on new roles. Michael Wallace, the drummer with Women, plays guitar. Guitarist and bass player, Henry Hsieh, tackles drums. And it's not clear how long Nicole Greedy has been playing guitar. This "beginner's mind" leads to music that is unrefined, repetitive, and sometimes trancelike.

Despite the consistent, low-fi repetition, Cold Toads varies a bit across its nine songs. The first track, Counter/Time, has an early Camper Van Beethoven feel, with loose tuning and a chanting approach to singing. It's defocused and a bit hard to listen to.

Later songs, like Oversees and New Sibley take on more of a post punk feel, which is more to my taste. Oversees, in particular, has sections that sound almost like a raw tribute to Joy Division.

Friendo's music is like a strong shot of ouzo: uncompromising and not necessarily to everyone's taste. Give them a listen and see what you think. Yiamas ("γεια μας")!

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