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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Friko: The place we’ve been, The place we go from right here Album Assessment

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As you would possibly anticipate from a scene named after a Neu! tune, the younger bands rising from Chicago’s Hallogallo collective see themselves as torchbearers for earlier generations of cutting-edge rock. Friko match the mould, as a precocious pair namechecking ’90s indie rock, post-punk, Leonard Cohen, and, why not, Chopin. Somebody who got here of age within the early 2000s may also hear Saddle Creek’s all-hands, band-camp blowouts in Friko’s surging drama—or the blog-rock bands that made guitars and drums thrilling once more within the age of mashups, or possibly the buzziest act at a late-aughts CMJ showcase or Empty Bottle afterparty. However even when Friko recall the sound of these days, their debut album, The place we’ve been, The place we go from right here isn’t only a throwback. It carries the spirit ahead, reaffirming that indie rock, as a method and ethos, can nonetheless really feel like essentially the most thrilling factor a teen might be into.

Regardless of its bullish title, The place we’ve been doesn’t scan as a monolithic assertion of function, however relatively a presumptive greatest-hits compilation. It’s no slight to say that it might be simply as pleasurable on shuffle; practically each tune feels designed to both start or finish a reside set, whether or not at SXSW, Schubas, and even Bonnaroo. Solely the finale, “Cardinal,” is locked into sequence as an acoustic comedown. Friko’s songs open grandly and collect depth all through their equally grand closings; these aren’t simply anthems within the summary sense, they’re theme songs. And even when the lyrics flip determined (“It doesn’t get higher, it simply will get twice as dangerous,” from the bittersweet, tightly wound “Get Numb to It!”), Niko Kapetan’s swashbuckling trill recasts the subject material as a hero’s journey.

“Twenty years spent above this place/You would odor the iron from the room,” Kapetan sings because the album’s preamble, a curious picture that conjures the odor of blood, of trains, of one thing that ought to be in movement. From that time ahead, The place we’ve been would possibly as properly be a blues album, given how a lot time Friko spend at a crossroads, compelled to decide on between wrestle or complacency, life or loss of life, going large or going residence.

Twin peaks “The place We’ve Been” and “Crimson to Chrome” cleverly reenact the pervasive drive to get out of a rut and into the groove, hammering at remarkably comparable melodies till the preparations crack open. “Chemical” sounds prefer it discovered its riff from the Walkmen’s “The Rat”—and likewise, extra importantly, {that a} tune will be all pressure for 4 minutes. When Kapetan yells the title again and again, the band shifts into what seems like a truncated time signature, as if they should knock out the refrain as rapidly as attainable earlier than their studio time runs out. Even a tune as blatantly bleak as “Get Numb to It!” can double as celebration rock, its a cappella finale sounding like a gang of drunken soccer followers chanting their college’s battle tune hours after the house group has left the sphere in triumph.

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