Strip it down. Cut the fat. Verse chorus verse. No bridge? No problem.
That’s it: the simplistic formula behind Friendly Foes — a pop-inspired three-piece hailing just outside of Detroit. But hold up…just because they choose the most economic way to get to power-pop’s Pleasure Island, it doesn’t mean their songs don’t come without a hefty wallop, a fierce bite, and a few twists and turns to keep you on your toes. In Friendly Foes’ world, simple does not equate with boring.
Inspired as equally by 70s punk-songwriters like Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello as they are the glory days of 90s indie rock (Superchunk, Guided By Voices, Chisel) — with a healthy dose of Husker Du and Replacements-style bash ‘n pop thrown in for good measure — Friendly Foes craft rag-tag, rough around the edges rock songs that do away with pretense. Instead, they choose quick routes to get to the gooey guts of what makes for rock-solid jams: whip-smart lyrics and anthemic melodies delivered at an unrelenting pace.
Their first full-length, “Born Radical” (released on Gangplank Records), delivers the Foes’ compact message in spades. Bursting with 13 dynamic songs, the album boasts lyrics that range from nostalgic looks at life before MySpace and Mp3s, to raging diatribes on rock and roll’s currents state of affairs. Guitars slash and burn, the bass rumbles like a heard of stampeding elephants, and drums crash and bang with precise abandon. And it all comes from three distinct players who are hardly indie rock veterans — Allen also sings and plays guitar in Thunderbirds are Now!, Wittman is one-third of Kiddo, and Brad Elliott has done his time in the Satin Peaches, amongst others.
Friendly Foes are just but a year old, but have already shared the stage with an impressive list of bands, including Sloan, the Walkmen, the Whigs, the Jealous Girlfriends, Born Ruffians, School of Language, Dosh, Cadence Weapon, Most Serene Republic, Rose Hill Drive, the Golden Dogs, and loads more.
Ryan Allen (vocals/guitar)
Liz Wittman (vocals/bass)
Sean Sommer (drums)
Quick Points of Interest
* Friendly Foes feature members of Thunderbirds are Now!, Kiddo, and an ex-member of the Satin Peaches
* “Born Radical” was recorded by Dave Feeny (Blanche, Loretta Lynn, American Mars, the Dirtbombs, Small Brown Bike, the Hard Lessons) @ Tempermill Studios in Ferndale, MI
* Guests on “Born Radical” include members of Dave Feeny of American Mars, Christian Doble of Child Bite/Kiddo, Zach Shipps of the Electric 6, John Nelson of New Grenada, & Scott Allen of Thunderbirds are Now!
* Hand-made album art by Christian Doble, w/ photos by Christine Edwards
* Released on Gangplank Records (American Mars, Blanche, LaSalle, Sunshine Doray)