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My Other Friend: Burning Bright Tonight

My Other Friend
Burning Bright Tonight
(Musebox Records)

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Restating my opinion on the current Brooklyn music scene would be redundant, but here goes: it’s often too minimalist and there’s too much bashing of things together in the hope of discovering something amidst the chaos—style over substance. It reminds me of lo-fi pageantry and self-congratulations on your job well done. It’s stage art. This is a generalization of course, but it’s also true in many cases. However, there are always exceptions, one of which is My Other Friend, a Brooklyn trio that sounds like a real, professional band. Andy, Holly, and Eli write good, solid songs that are extremely catchy and sound of-the-now, and they’re seemingly striving for something well-made, which I appreciate.

If you like Wolf Parade, you’ll really enjoy Burning Bright Tonight. In a way, the comparison could be detrimental because the similarities are strong and you notice them right away, but I guess that depends on how much you care (me, not so much), because regardless, the music is great. It’s their first LP but it sounds as if they’ve been doing this for years, evidenced first by the opening track, “Wedding Day.” It’s a slow burner that escalates from a sweet longing to a full-bore of unrequited yearning, which is a common theme throughout the album. But it works because you feel like they really mean it. The standouts for me are, “I Have Always Thought That You’ve Been Running,” “Collectors,” and “Afraid of the Modern Day,” just because they’re stormers that really get me pumped. A large part of the appeal of this album for me is Andy’s guitar work; it’s full of warmth, subtlety, and urgency. And many of the songs are peppered with Holly’s bright vocals that add a distinct contrast to Andy’s brooding, while Eli’s drumming is fantastically spastic and on-point.

The songs are complex, yet they play-out in such an organic nature that the album is a real pleasure to listen to. I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy that atmospheric Montreal sound of Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade. Still, it’s different, it’s local, and it’s cool.

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