Average Friend is a relatively new band, but they’ve been playing together for just over three years now. They’re all bartenders in downtown Gainesville, FL, which makes for a cool underdog band formation story. They decided that on their nights off they’d play some covers for drunkards, but the college kids didn’t seem to take to The Pixies, Lou Reed or Pavement. Eventually, they decided they needed to become an original band to capture people’s attention.
They wear their influences much like every band (everything from the aforementioned bands to Big Star, The Allman Brothers, Elvis Costello and Father John Misty), but they’re creating something unique at the same time. They’ve only played locally before, but the release of their first EP has spurred the band on to book regional shows. They’re already working on two (yes, TWO!) new EPs, and I’m very excited to hear them after listening to this one.
Their four-track EP entitled Sweating Out The Weekend encompasses the sound of four aspirational bartenders having fun and playing some powerful music in a collective. It’s driven by Weezer-esque, crunchy, fuzzy, distorted power chords and prominent vocals which shout melodically atop the 90s-esque pop-grunge chaos beneath. The first track “Heavy Time” was probably my favorite track on the EP, as it was short, concise and punchy from start to finish.
“Life’s A Joke, That’s The Punchline” is driven by a catchy electric guitar arpeggio, a throbbing bass rhythm and punchy drum beat. This is a significantly more upbeat track than the opener, but the vocals still project that tinny, shouting, ‘90s pop-punk feel that feels both nostalgic and fresh at the same time. There’s definitely some classic rock influence in here, mostly prevalent through the guitar patterns which definitely seem to draw from the influences mentioned at the opening of this review. Yet, all the same, Average Friend has the feel of a modern day indie rock band at the same time. They blend old and new seamlessly, avoiding the trap of becoming another tribute band trying desperately to be original.
"Two Day Hangover" is a song which sounds far too energetic to match its title. Still, that’s a good thing. It’s driven by a throbbing bass rhythm and upbeat vocals which reassure the recipient that: “She doesn’t need you / Honey, that’s okay.” it’s the punchy instrumentals and vocals which really captivated me within this track. It’s reminiscent of old acts such as The Kinks and new acts such as The Vaccines or Kings of Leon. Yet, at the same time, it’s nothing like these acts; it’s something else. Average Friend wears their influences on their shoulder, but it seems unfair to say that they sound like any of them.
“ Don’t Mind” is driven by a fuzzy guitar riff, a slow, pulsating beat and the same tinny vocals which project far beyond the electrifying chaos beneath them. It’s that ‘90s sound once again, but it’s been repackaged with a twenty-first century feel in mind. I love the way in which Average Friend has reinvented old sounds in an entirely new way. The screeching, soaring guitar solo was certainly a highlight of this track in particular, and this was the perfect way to send the EP off.
This EP is incredibly short, so there’s no excuse for you to avoiding giving these four short, punchy, tracks a listen.
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