Les Savy Fav Let’s Stay Friends

[Frenchkiss; 2007]

Styles: indie rock, “art-punk”
Others: Plastic Constellations, The Apes, Fatal Flying Guilloteens, Frenchkiss

I have a few friends. I think they like me, and I’m pretty sure I like them. Some of them even like me enough to "bat" for me (my cousin, for example, threatened to fight a guy at my last collegiate house party when he touched my intricately ordered iPod playlist). Anyway, the last time I uttered the phrase “let’s stay friends,” the title of Les Savy Fav’s latest release, was after a female friend of mine more or less methodically broke my heart and abused my bank account.

And yet, I feel like if I had instead offered Let’s Stay Friends as an olive branch to any of my former dissenting friends, they’d be more inclined to respond with a skyscraping middle finger rather than comforting forgiveness (I assume the reason for their departure from our friendship, my fault — hug). Despite its title, this isn't a reconciliatory album. At best, the record is filled with remnants of bottled anger and expelled demons. At worst, it’s filled with the kind of angsty cries typically read in pouty 14-year-olds’ LiveJournals.

“Comes&Goes” is the crux of Let’s Stay Friends’ longing sentiment. Frontman Tim Harrington croons, “Maybe you’d be better off alone,” as the oddly acoustic guitar strings bend and pull for attention. He later repeats, “You come and go/ Come and go,” yet he can’t pull himself to implore, “Let’s stay friends.” Even throughout these earnest yearnings, “The Equestrian” invokes anything but a friendly reach. The neurotic guitars seem to fight one another as Harrington’s screams try to make sense of it all.

It seems that Les Savy Fav are trying desperately to keep your friendship, though, loftily mimicking their contemporaries and idols. “Brace Yourself” and “Patty Lee” both recall the stripped energy of the Pixies, while the drum machines and waterfall guitars of “What Would Wolves Do?” parrot the East Coast stripped-down rock aesthetic.

Ultimately though, it boils down to one question: Were Les Savy Fav your friends in the first place? If so, the album’s title seems superfluous, unnecessary even. But on the same regard, they won’t be making any new friends either. Imploring their current crew not to leave won’t invite too many newcomers. But as long as they save face with the girl who broke their hearts, I think they’ll call this a success. Hell, maybe in the end, they’ll be more than just friends.

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