Sunday, January 16, 2022

Review: Are We Gonna Be Alright? • Fickle Friends

For the better part of a decade, British pop group Fickle Friends were the benefactors of a continual search for new versions of bands that already exist. As the group sprinkled out singles across the last decade, Fickle Friends were filed between The 1975, the early years, and Paramore, the later years, for their balanced use of synthpop, guitar, and bass. Released after four years of touring and two years in a major label contract, the band's eventual debut record, You Are Someone Else, became a bright compilation of worthwhile hits surrounded by a whole cluster of low-risk synthpop complements with modest returns on investment.

While You Are Someone Else was very much concerned with building a repertoire that could compete with – or at the very least, insulate – their best material, the band’s second record, Are We Gonna Be Alright?, makes much more interesting use of the band’s strengths and bridges new territory into their reach. While uneven in its inspiration, the record shows great promise: Opening number “Love You to Death” cements together gnashing guitars and a tickled electric bass to shove the band somewhere between dance-rock and progressive funk, while “Yeah Yeah Yeah” and “Won’t Hurt Myself” go for punk-adjacent headbangers.

When lead singer Natti Shiner bounces her voice against the backbeat of “IRL” or warps it through the hook on “Alone,” the album reveals what could feel like a more natural progression for a band like Fickle Friends. But Are We Gonna Be Okay? rises well above a competent pop record when at its most aggressive: “Won’t Hurt Myself” finds staying power in its strong melody and spiraling guitar, and “Write Me A Song” spares subtlety in its jabs at major label mentality. And to hell with the comparisons: As the band's once vague identity grows stronger with each release, Fickle Friends can stand on their own now. They're gonna be just fine.

Are We Gonna Be Alright? is available now under Cooking Vinyl.

1 comment

  1. I was so pleasantly surprised by this release!! Fell in love with "You Are Someone Else" and thought this one wouldn't top it based off the pre-release singles, but this one really takes the cake!!


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