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Let's Stay Friends

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Since forming in 1994, Les Savy Fav has grown into a band considered among the godfathers of the independent rock music scene, releasing three albums and a singles compilation that resulted in sales of over 1000,000 copies worldwide. Their constant success can be attributed to the overseeing of every aspect of their music including the release of it.

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If there is such a thing as the "subtle anthem," then Les Savy Fav has perfected an intelligent, full-flail version of the art on Let's Stay Friends, their first wholly new album in six years. The delay was due to a massive case of writer's block, but you'd not guess it by the riches here. The way LSS mixes together so many elements of energetic alt-rock sounds from the 1990s continues to startle, and to evolve. Echoes of detuned, angular, post-punk firebrands such as Fugazi, the Ex, and Jawbox float about on most songs. But the group has clearly expanded its horizons and interests on this album, which features horns, dub elements, and stabbing vocal accompaniment by Eleanor Friedberger (the Fiery Furnaces). The cute, acoustic strum-heavy "Comes and Goes" has something of the hyper-literate anorak-indie sheen of the Wedding Present to it, while the heady "Brace Yourself" simmers and swaggers like a great, soulful Afghan Whigs number. A couple other songs sound like Spoon in their get-this-party-started phase. Needless to say, with the acute songwriting skills and croon-shouting of Tim Harrington, the group doesn't sound like anyone but themselves. Harrington's a great stylist, a true smarty-pants. Intense word play mixes with jokes that reveal themselves to be heavy truths, making Let's Stay Friends a contender for Les Savy Fav's best album yet. --Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 18, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Frenchkiss
  • ASIN: B000UVLSVE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,680 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George a Pletz on October 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Les Savy Fav's previous release, "Inches", was not an album but a singles collection. Due to its sequencing of newest to oldest, it was easy to forget since it all held together so well. With "Let's Stay Friends", it sometimes feels like the opposite. The opener "Pots and Pans" serves the statement of intent purpose that "Meet Me in The Dollar Bin" did but after that it seems that all bets are off. By picking up the thread from Go Forth, the last full length, LSF are throwing new elements into the mix all over the place. And to further throw us off, the lyrics are far more direct than before. The mood here is more upbeat than what I had come to expect. Yes there are bits of darkness around the edges but this seems to be more about the joy of performance and a sense of comaraderie in the band. And the music gives us that in spades. The music and vocals just fuse together effortlessly. And believe trying to explain what it sounds like to a novice is not easy. You can throw out a bunch of names but nothing really gets it all. You could write paragraphs on the sound of Seth Jambour's guitars alone. Echoing without being dub, fractured but not noise, psychedelic but not noodlingly are good descriptors but, damn! They have a style which points in a lot of directions but it's simply their own. It has the post punk need to experiement and bring new colors to the palette. It has the aggressive force of mid nineties guitar rock before it descended into the cartoonish heavier than thou poses of nu-metal. There is a quirky and humane quality behind all the bombast. On the downside, it may take a couple spins for it to find its way into your skull. And don't bother reading the lyric sheet either. I think it works better coming in through the ear than the eye. Personally I like the 2nd half of the album better. A fun record that doesn't feel stupid. I think there one of the best rock bands going today. For aging indie kids like me anyhow. Four and 1/2 stars.
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Format: Audio CD
These guys are real artists trying to push the envelope with artistry. A fair comparison would be to them to what "Public Image Limited" was doing in the 1970's (I hate Johnny Lydon, but I love the musicians and what they were doing with dub).

This music is not easy to digest but this stuff is the real deal. These guys are true artists pushing emotion and angst, a strong sense of funky rhythm, angular instrumental lines and a ton of attitude into music that can be challenging yet also is, for the most part, pretty accessible. "Patty Lee' is the highlight.
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Maybe not, but I love these guys nonetheless. Let's Stay Friends is another killer album from a band that should be way more famous than it is. All of their albums are peppered with enough high energy jams featuring "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" guitar hooks that you immediately hit repeat for another listen. And in between these seemingly radio-friendly numbers they keep things interesting with just enough strangeness to reward those of us looking for the kind of music we'd expect from former art school students (they apparently met at Rhode Island School of Design,) but without venturing too far into Sonic Youth territory (I like Sonic Youth and all, but their determination to not sound like they're playing an actual, structured song can get tedious at times. There, I said it; I worship at no altar.)

Above all, Les Savy Fav are a fun band, and Let's Stay Friends is a fun album. "Patty Lee" is a clear standout, featuring a hook so good you almost don't even need a song attached to it. "The Year Before the Year 2000" is a classic Les Savy Fav number, starting out in a minor chord before revving up into a fist-pumping chorus. That seems to be their bread-and-butter. The new-wave groove on "What Would Wolves Do?" got stuck in my head immediately, and briefly made me wish Les Savy Fav had been born a generation earlier so we could see what they would've done with a boatload of synths and appropriately art-school 80's haircuts.

This is a band for people who like good rock and roll, who can appreciate a lead singer who's not afraid to stand at the front of the stage and get loud and sometimes ridiculous for your entertainment. And Let's Stay Friends may be their most solid album, start to finish. Buy it. Tell your friends. Rock out.
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The title of this review comes from an interview I read last year with LSF's Tim Harrington. The passage from the interview goes:

"An area of interest for me lyrically," he (Tim) explains, "is to be able to address whatever the harshest and most negative elements are in life and society and defy that, not with a pie-eyed optimism, but with a really cold-hearted optimism. Don't expect the world to change. Change yourself. Change your perception of it."

This idea comes across in a number of songs on Let's Stay Friends, which in my opinion is their best album to date and easily the best rock album of 2007. "The Year Before the Year 2000" and "Kiss, Kiss is Getting Old" touch on what he was talking about, and "The Lowest Bitter" - the album's passionate and fiery closer - says it perfectly.

This is an incredibly fun and optimistic album, and their songwriting and playing has gotten even better with this latest release. I love how these guys are just hardcore perfectionists when it comes to the final product - always shooting for better. "The Equestrian" is an instant classic and one of their best songs ever, an infectious rocker. "Patty Lee" is the catchiest, and in my opinion captures the band in top form, in every way. The song is tight, structure-wise; the lyrics are as good as anything Tim's ever written; and the playing is awesome, especially the guitar-playing .. just brilliant.

Other highlights are "Kiss, Kiss is Getting Old", which sounds like it was AIMED at folks in their mid-thirties (like myself, I could be biased here), "Raging in the Plague Age" and "Slugs in the Shrubs". "Raging" has a great backup refrain, sung by either a boys choir or hired nuns. Or possibly friends of the band.
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