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AU61: Gentle Friendly album review

January 4, 2010

GENTLE FRIENDLY
RIDE SLOW
UPSET THE RHYTHM

Grimy, scuzzy, lo-fi pop music has been the sole preserve of the States for the last couple of years, but Nottingham’s Lovvers and now south London duo Gentle Friendly are holding the British end up rather well. And quite right too – it wouldn’t do to let the Yanks get too far ahead, now, would it? However, although Lovvers are fun and great live, they aren’t doing much that Jay Reatard or No Age haven’t done already. Gentle Friendly, on the other hand, appear to march to the beat of their own drum.

For a start, their line-up is devoid of stringed instruments of any kind, as they rely solely on drums, a keyboard and an organ to make their playful racket. Secondly, as much of a hipster magnet as they undoubtedly are, they sound too individual to be accused of ripping anyone off. Thirdly, and most importantly, they write some weird and wonderful songs when they rein in the obviously breathless experimentation. ‘Lovers Rock’ is a swaying lilt that recalls Clinic’s ‘Distortions’; ‘Vincentt’ is a mysterious little pop song, sung hazily over the organic drone of a synth and an insistent drumbeat; and ‘NO808ON’ plays Dan Deacon at his own frantic game and nearly wins. Ultimately, though, the impression that lingers is that of an exciting and creative new band, one that is going to be fun to follow.

7/10

DOWNLOAD: ‘LOVERS ROCK’, ‘RIP STATIC’, ‘VINCENTT’.
FOR FANS OF: CLINIC, DAN DEACON, THE MAE SHI.

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