Les Savy Fav | Let’s Stay Friends (French Kiss)

cd_lessavyfav.jpgTo phrase it quite simply, Les Savy Fav is an incredible rock band. And whether it is frowned upon or not, LSF do have a "party" quality to them.





In indie circles by and large, referring to a group as a "party band" is an insult. One summons up images of hack musicians with bronzed skin playing ’80s heavy metal standards. You find them playing 24-hour bars or in restaurants in suburban strip malls. In essence, these bands exist to provide blasts of nostalgia and allow people to briefly relive the headier days of their youth. Also, "party band" just sounds far too enjoyable, vacuous, and shallow for popular and critical acceptance.

Yet, there are/were bands around with plenty of critical acclaim and popularity that had a certain "party" quality to them. They wear Mexican wrestling masks, dress up as insects, shoot whipped cream out of phallic cannons, pretend to be martians, etc. In addition, their music usually has enough quirks and stylistic differences that they stick out in comparison to your average rock band. When you go these band’s gigs, there is something else for your senses to absorb beside the music. When The Jesus Lizard played your town, it was not just another concert, but an event.

While a sweat-covered Tim Harrington stripping down to his briefs is does not approach David Yow throwing his body around with reckless abandon on the unpredictable frontman scale, it is still wise to pay special attention when Les Savy Fav lays it down live. With Let’s Stay Friends, their first studio LP since 2001’s Go Forth, French Kiss Records’ flagship band has squashed any notion of their demise. They have also shown that they have not lost a step. To phrase it quite simply, LSF is an incredible rock band. And whether it is frowned upon or not, LSF do have a "party" quality to them.

Let’s Stay Friends strikes a near perfect first note with the pairing of "Pots & Pans" and "The Equestrian" to kick-start the disc. While the comparatively relaxed "Pots & Pans" opens the LP with its dreamlike qualities, Les Savy Fav transitions into the scorching "The Equestrian" before one has a chance to blink. While LSF does not reach that level of fury on the remainder of the disc, "The Year Before The Year 2000," "Raging in the Plague Age" and "Slugs in the Shrubs" more than suffices in giving LSF its necessary allotment of aggression.

However, let us not ignore the disc’s stylistically divergent numbers. In the off-kilter "Patty Lee," Harrington sounds if he is channeling his inner Prince. For some reason, it just works—Uh, maybe because it is a great song. That greatness also extends to "Brace Yourself," "Scotchgard the Credit Card," "Kiss Kiss Is Getting Old," and "The Lowest Bitter." While Let’s Stay Friends is not the greatest collection of songs that Les Savy Fav has given up for public consumption, it remains a solid and a first-rate LP. As it was with the new Shellac disc, the five-plus years’ wait for a disc of new material proves to be time well spent. A- | David Lichius

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