Portland - Best Friends’ debut album is Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane. Born out of Sheffield, the foursome delivers self-deprecating garage pop that is more about music than show. Their LP, Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane consistently surprises its listeners with tracks that are littered with playfulness and attitude but never loses sight of the importance of skilled instrumentals. Controlled guitars are the band’s most blatant talent with lead singer Lewis Sharman’s howling vocals adding a fittingly wild aspect to their dynamic. The album isn’t insane as much as it is impressive. Best Friends have produced a debut that combines the best of reckless garage and surfy pop—and it begs to be listened to.
The UK group was formed in 2011 out of a group of actual best friends which adds even more to their appeal. The only change from their original line-up is the addition of Johnny Gaymer on drums. Sharman acts as vocalist and guitarist along with guitarist Tom Roper and bassist Ed Crisp. The band dropped a couple of EPs before signing to Hardly Art and eventually Fat Cat Records. They’ve also long been praised on their album artwork which usually features a trippy, melting scenery complete with vivid bright colors. Best Friends commit to their rowdy aesthetic, and they do it well.
Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane. isn’t actually as chaotic as the title presumes. The opener, “Fake Spit” adds increasingly heavier elements as the song goes on, but it takes a minute and a half for it to get there. There is something refreshing about a largely instrumental first track; it lays the groundwork for an album that is much more than just humorous song titles (i.e. “If You Think Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out” and “Shred Till You’re Dead”) and catchy guitar riffs.
“Cold Shapes” is a hint into the darker aspects of the lyrics. Sharman’s raspy vocals collide with calmer guitar and softer drums to put the meaning of the song at the forefront: “I want it all and I want it now / my impatience always gets me down / feeling goes and it goes away / starts over and I have to wait again.” The anticipation that the song describes is much like the anxious tone that the album has overall —which builds and battles until the last track. The last track, “Orange Juice,” is the rawest of all. Sharman sings, “I’ve seen death / I’ve looked it in the eyes / I felt scared but I didn’t feel surprised…rip it up and start again / there’s more of us than there is of them.” The song then totally transforms from being largely acoustic to being as trippy and garage as ever. It ends the album in true reckless fashion.
Best Friends is a talented group, and their debut album only reflects that. They manage to not only use the elements of pop garage they boast, but to also use moments of punk and rock. Those moments make it even more exciting to listen to. Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane. is moody and fierce, honest and exposing–an overall electrifying debut.
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