From the opening riffs in the song, “Despierta”, to the closing, title track, Filthy Friends Invitation delivers familiar sounds that make me nostalgic for MTV’s Buzz Bin. With so many of today’s popular music reliant on overproduced, electronic sounds, hearing the stripped down rock sounds in Invitation provide a welcome break.
But what else would one expect from a band made up of alternative/indie rock icons?
Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney) provides the melodic front for Filthy Friends. Drummer, Bill Rieflin of King Krimson (Linda Pitmon is currently drumming) and bassist Scott McCaughey of Young Fresh Fellows make-up the rhythm section. Guitarist Kurt Bloch (The Fastbacks) pairs with Peter Buck, who was once in a little band called R.E.M, to deliver catchy riffs. Each member brings their influences to Filthy Friends, delivering a fun album.
The beginning of the album sounds like it could be used as the opening credits of a 90s teen drama. I could see Buffy and crew hanging out at the Bronze, while Filthy Friends played in the background. Simple, but strong, bass lines drive the album forward, while Buck’s guitar hooks and Tucker’s vocals give it a pop flair that makes this album accessible to the masses. Harmonic choruses blend with a groove that will keep the listener moving.
Given the band’s pedigree, the punk, indie, alternative sounds aren’t surprising. But that isn’t a bad thing. Whether it’s the air guitar worthy riffs in “Windmill” and “Brother”, the punk jams in “Come Back Shelly” and “No Forgotten Son”, or the doo wop sound in “Invitation”, Filthy Friends delivers an album that rocks.
While some may argue that indie rock had its day in the 90s, it was an answer to the overly produced sounds that filled the radio airwaves through the late 80s early 90s. People needed music that was raw; that rings true today. While Filthy Friends’ Invitation leans on nostalgic sounds, it’s a familiarity that long-time fans of the musicians will appreciate. Meanwhile, bringing that stripped down sound to a new generation who may be sick of listening to performances dependent on prerecorded tracks.
The thing I like most about Invitation is what it represents. Freedom. The Freedom to do what makes your heart happy. When you get a group of musicians together that have already secured their music legacy, you get an album that is free from trying to fit into a genre specific box. There is nothing revolutionary about Invitation; there doesn’t have to be. Its fun groove and smart lyrics make this album worth a spin.
-Reviewed by Joy G.