It’s a new year and a new face for the music industry. The closing segments of last December saw it party hard, look back on its achievements, revel in its success, feel guilty about its mistakes and then get completely annihilated at the staff party on New Years. January has now been and gone, giving the industry time to sober up, detox, clear up after itself after figuring out where it’s woken up and start making plans for the new year it’s entered. Meaning, that what comes along with a fresh start, also comes with bands entering the new year wearing a much more grown up persona than what they first did previous.
The Sheffield lo-fi proprietors, Best Friends, have built a firm foundation upon the ethos that being loud, riotous and free-living is the best way to exist. Even right down to their bandcamp page is the mantra extended, with its URL simply and succinctly reading, ‘bestfriendspartyhard’. This attitude has served them well, as it has been mingled with their traditional reverb soaked and degraded aesthetic, earning them releases on such DIY labels as Art Is Hard and the Too Pure Singles Club. However, as spoken about earlier, the new year has brought on new changes, with one of these changes seeing the band write on the dotted line and sign a deal with major label, Fat Cat Records, and announce the details of their forthcoming LP, ‘Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane’, out 18th May. To celebrate the union, the band have released the new single ‘Fake Spit’, lifted straight off the forthcoming LP, to give us all a taster of what is to come.
Noticeable changes in the bands approach arrive strikingly quickly in the form of the production as the first thud and swoosh of kick drum and cymbals ring out underneath some chainsaw esque sounding guitars, signaling permutations in their sonic exterior. Gone is the lo-fi production as found on the ‘Throwing Up EP’, which felt like a crumpled and worn photo taken out of the family photo album and left out on the windowsill to be aged by the sun, and instead is a sheen and gloss that makes it feel like a snapshot taken on a HD camera. The shouty, bolshy and incendiary punk thrash-out of ‘Fake Spit’ lasts only for 1 minute and 51 seconds, and sees the band, despite still “partying hard”, have a much more mature and less nihilistic outlook on life.
Some contemplative and thoughtful lyrics are shouted out over the roar of drums and traditional lead playing you’d expect from Best Friends, giving substance to the riotous instrumentation that resounds. The track pushes the band into a different league than what they were playing in before, still carrying with them the baggage and mementos they collected whilst trudging the Golden Mile in their garage phase, but now combining what they have with elements we all know and love from bands like Bloody Knees and Gnarwolves. It’s a change definitely, a signal that the band are moving ahead, but it’s not a bad move either, as what they’ve come up with is a template that can only be expanded upon. Eyes are now firmly fixed on 18th May to see what “Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane” brings to the table for the band and the listener.