Best Friends

Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane.

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On their debut album, Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane., the guys in Best Friends give the impression that they're having a great time, romping through their '90s-influenced garage pop songs like happy-go-lucky good-time Charlies. Not to say that the music is silly or frivolous, just that there's a lighthearted joy at its heart that makes the album a pure delight. Most of the songs are fast and super-hooky, the kind that make you want to stop whatever you're doing and do some dancing. Even the slower songs have no drag at all, just a little less frantic energy. And the restrained "Cold Shapes" sounds like a lost shoegaze pop classic. The band plays with sure-handed power and loads of youthful enthusiasm. Lewis Sharman and Tom Roper's guitar work is nimble and quick, jumping like excited little kids over the bouncing backbeat of Jonny Gaymer and Ed Crisp's crisp basslines. Sharman's vocals are pleasantly yelpy without ever coming close to whiny; he even handles the half-ballad that ends the album, "Orange Juice," with some gritty aplomb. Mostly though, he romps and hollers as the band clatters away happily and those lucky enough to be listening start thinking where the band would fit on a mixtape. After the Cribs, maybe? In between King Tuff and Jay Reatard, perhaps? Somewhere close to Franz Ferdinand or Black Lips? Yes, to all of those. Really though, the strength of their songs, the fiery fun of their performances, and the overall amount of fun that blasts out of the speakers in a rambunctious wave as the album plays make them more than pretenders or hangers-on. Best Friends have arrived fully formed on their debut, ready to take their place among the best practitioners of noisy garagey pop around.

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