If you’ve never heard of Just Friends, you are truly missing out on something that’s uniquely its own. I’ve tried pinpointing a genre for this group but I inevitably fail every time. The amount of influences which permeate this band is unreal at times. In some ways, they are emo jazz, while in other ways they veer on the side of being more funk or rock. Either way, this group knows how to keep it interesting so let’s dive into this record
The intro song 1-800-CHOP-CITY is essentially just a skit before the album begins, with a random clap along section at the very end. Never Gonna Bring You Down is the first true song of the album. It ushers in the positive message instantaneously. That’s one thing I need to applaud this band for: They are a force of a positive energy in a world that is overwhelmingly negative. The incorporation of the extra vocalist was a smart idea and adds another element to the band that wasn’t there before. What might be even better is Keep Up, which is a burst of energy to keep the album going. The syncopated section among the guitars and bass, and then the horns as well, might be one of my favorite moments on the album.
Supersonic is another song which totally surprised me. While it starts of in a similar fashion to the song just before, it quickly transitions into hand drums and bass. The verses are very quick and intense while the chorus’ are held out and made to be bigger. It was that final little cadence at the end really got me where it goes into a halftime feel followed by syncopated short notes on all the instruments.
I Wanna Love You is another track I wasn’t expecting to hear, yet was pleasantly surprised by. This is where the sort of emo jazz aspect becomes more prevalent. This song is meant to really show off their other vocalist and for me acts as a nice break from the more intense songs. Even when all of the instruments come in, it still retains that jazziness while bringing a bit more energy. 107.7 Kjfc is another skit sort of song, and in the context of the album, I love it. Especially because of the song which it transitions into.
Get Down is my favorite song on the album, for various reasons. It has an overwhelming funk vibe to it, yet has an intenseness that’s unparalleled. It feels like a perfect crossover into the hip-hop world, without coming off cheesy like Limp Bizkit. The end part with that bass line and drum beat with droning synths is a true testament to the diversity of this record. This transitions perfectly into the next track, Nothing But Love.
There are not many vocals on Nothing But Love but those instrumentals are what hooked me in. Everything is very punchy and precise while still feeling relaxed and natural. Compared to their previous release Rock 2 the Rhythm there is much more focus put on the instruments, exemplified by the number of instrumental sections. After listening to the album a number of times it’s grown on me, and feels more experimental and thought out than their previous release.
The track Faucet was another one which stood out to me. It eludes to their former sound with the vocals, yet has a dreamier and playful instrumental. During one section the trombone is given its time to shine, rather than just being apart of the horn section. If you’re looking for a good summer jam, this album is one I suggest blasting on your next road trip. Also, check out the final track Worry, I won’t get too into it, but it’s a solid ending to this album.
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