Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Album Review: Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends

Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends

(French Kiss, 2007)

Grade - 79.5%

Pots & Pans

A disclaimer: Before hearing Les Savy Fav's latest Let's Stay Friends, I had been diggin' on singles collection Inches (2004) and merely flirted with the more dance-infused Go Forth (2001). Writing a competent review for this album became increasingly difficult. As I visited the band's back catalog, I found myself mystified, intrigued, and completely won over.

Occasionally a friend or acquaintance will say in defense of a band, "But they're really good live..." I suppose I've always found such claims bordering on bullshit. If said band is so incredible live, why don't they make an effort to achieve this level of brilliance on their albums -- the place where the songs are set in stone, the place where they are most often encountered, whether driving in the car, over dinner, echoing in the background of idle conversation? Then I encounter a band like Les Savy Fav and it all makes sense.

You see, I read a post recently that observed how amazing it is that a "morbidly obese" man could belt out such impressive vocals. Morbidly obese, you say? I had to look into that. This was when I uncovered this:

(from aubreyedwards.com, whatever the fuck that is)

And this:

(from mog.com)

And don't forget this:

(from afterthebirthofthecool.com)

One more, pretty pretty please?:

(from villagevoice.com)

The Internet is literally rife with images of Tim Harrington in his underwear. I can attest that, after witnessing a few terribly rendered YouTubes, followed by fans' lamenting the band's absence from the tour circuit, I started wishing I weren't such a johnny(err, jenny?)-come-lately. I've also been left wondering how, after seeing one of the best concerts of the year, I could possibly whine about missing the brief LCD/Arcade stint with LSF. So it goes.

So what's the scoop on the new Les Savy Fav? you ask. This is an album review, after all. Well if you're a fan of Inches like myself, Friends should keep you from yawn, yawn, yawning. There are songs that evoke "Meet Me in the Dollar Bin" ("Patty Lee") and "Hello Halo, Goodbye Glands" ("Brace Yourself"). You'll find your throw-a-chair-at-the-wall punk anthems a la "The Equestrian" or "The Year Before the Year 2000." Friends offers some surprises, too. Opener "Pots & Pans" is a remarkably slow builder (for the band), and one of the album's highlights. "Comes and Goes," featuring Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces, was intriguing (for both LSF and FF), if not altogether at home with the other tracks on the album.

Ultimately Let's Stay Friends may not be the stampeding ruckus superfans expected to herald the band's return, but it's attracted this jenny-come-lately, and I suspect many others, too.


Mandy said...

I didn't know what the singer looked like! Haha! He kind of reminds me of my dad...the belly.
I bet he knows how to put away a few Natty Lights.

The Moon said...

Good live show or not I have never been able to get into these guys...