Super Friendz Love Energy

Nearly seven years after calling it quits, Halifax guitar-pop darlings the Super Friendz are back up and running with a brand new full-length studio effort. The reformation grew out of a pair of casual, yet obviously successful, hometown reunion gigs last holiday season arranged by original Friendz drummer Dave Marsh. The other three founding members (Flashing Lights front-man Matt Murphy and Neusiland conspirators Charles Austin and Drew Yamada) have reclaimed their respective quarters of the action, as well. Co-produced by former Thrush Hermit bassist Ian McGettigan, Love Energy is a sweet, gritty outing that sounds way more Mock Up, Scale Down than it does Slide Show which, according to bass-playing vocalist Austin, is no coincidence. He says the group made a conscious effort to avoid what he calls the "maudlin and the self-conscious” trappings that informed the Super Friendz’ unremarkable 1996 swansong CD. It shows, too, as most of the 12 new tracks boast immediately discernable hooks, and not one breaks the four-minute mark. "There aren’t really any slow songs on the record, either,” adds Austin. "The slowest songs are mid-tempo.” The disc has a lively, decidedly raw quality about it — a fact Austin puts down to the band’s desire to seize the moment and capture the energy of the sessions rather than try to finesse perfect individual performances. "It’s pretty raw, but a lot of that has to do with just writing things on the spot,” says Austin. "It definitely wasn’t a really crafted studio record. It was pretty much guitar, bass, drums and not a lot of overdubs.” Further distinguishing the album from its predecessors is the extent to which members collaborated on the new material. Whereas it used to be easy to tell who wrote what, here the style lines have faded to the extent that at least a couple of tracks come off as veritable duets. Additionally, Marsh’s emergence as a songwriter imparts a hitherto unknown art-punk element to the mix. Despite the odd bit of tracking that begs for another take, Love Energy is a testament to the Super Friendz’ individual growth as musicians and songwriters, and a document of what a good time in the studio sounds like. (Outside)