Audio Learning Center's Friendships Often Fade Away shows a nice change of pace for Vagrant Records. It displays a band whose members aren't teenagers or early twenty-somethings and don't make poppy, bubblegum punk music for teenage girls; they come off as if saying, "Yeah, we know we're not who you're gonna think of when you think of this label." But Audio Learning Center is probably fine with that. These guys are veterans of the music scene; the music that they craft is therefore much more tender and patient. Sure, sometimes it does lean toward the familiar scent of Vagrant darlings the Get Up Kids or that power pop supergroup Weezer, but the members of Audio Learning Center also know how to express their melancholic feelings on songs such as "Hand Me Downs," "Prescription," and the song from which the album title is pulled, "The Dream." At these moments, the band bears greater resemblance to a mature rock trio like Athens, GA's Five Eight, who, although older, still know how to have a great time rocking while also being mature enough to handle serious songs with the right care and understanding. Any complete review of Friendships Often Fade Away would have to also mention the amazing artwork by Rick Boston and Audio Learning Center's own Steven Birch. The cover is adorned with a beautiful painting entitled "Lamentation," while the case is quite extensive and framed as though it's a painting. Kudos on going the extra mile with the design, and more kudos on pulling off a great album.
AllMusic Review by Kurt Morris