The average person’s attention span isn’t very long. I think fifteen seconds is about it. Its why social media works so well. Facebook post and tweets, pictures that only require a tap to approve or disappear after only a few seconds are the perfect feed for today’s humans. With music most people just want something they can sing along to with a head bobbing beat and a few lines that sound like they’re clever as hell but are really just dumb pleasantries.
With all this being said I have to congratulate musicians that still make music for the rest of the population that are willing to deal with length and in some situations an organized chaos of sound. This last bit is what I’d say best describes the Melbourne, Australia, five-piece blitz-rock outfit Fifth Friend and their latest record of the same name.
Fifth Friend recorded Fifth Friend live which is really the only way to hear this and best gives one an idea of what they lay down at a show. They describe their music, via a quote from her Majesty the Queen of England, as a band that “… sounds like your father’s record collection in a blender, on fire, balanced on a chimney.”
They wanted to make a record that sounded like them. They are influenced not just by music, which I would count the entire oeuvre of ‘60s and ‘70s hazy drug and drone rock, but by literature and video games and again druggy rock songs.
Now for anyone still paying attention or even still reading this I will get back to my earlier point. I applaud Fifth Friend for their long and drawn out moody songs on this record. Beginning with the five-plus-minute dirty and dark psychedelic bluesy rocker “Ain’t it Amazing” which in its tenure acts more like a performance piece than anything else.
The performance here is worth the wait though. It coils around like a snake on fire thrashing in parts and then slowing down and seemingly giving up and then thrashing a bit more. They do this thrashing a bit more hard core with the keyboard-guitar fueled epic jam session “Cupid” and then get into the more funky and jazzy “I’m Tired of Fun.” But perhaps the crowning jewel of the record here is the nine-plus-minute “Spider Skin” which crawls along at times and at others has all the fury and eccentric showmanship of a rock opera.
Fifth Friend’s self-titled record Fifth Friend is definitely worth the price of admission and the time invested to listen. It’s a highly stylized live record that requires the listener’s attention, in fact makes itself almost impossible not to pay attention to at times despite the length of many of its songs.
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