The Lowdown: Touted as a supergroup when their debut longplayer, Invitation, appeared in 2017, Filthy Friends appeared much less just like the gathering of bloated egos that phrase implies and extra like an group of environment friendly professionals. Led by singer Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, the quintet’s grown-up (i.e., less-abrasive) tackle storage rock clearly boasted a powerful pedigree, whereas fellow guitarist Kurt Bloch, bassist Scott McCaughey, and drummer Invoice Rieflin had all crossed paths with Buck in quite a few ventures, amongst them The Minus 5, The Baseball Venture and Robyn Hitchcock’s Venus 3. The band have confronted adjustments since: McCaughey suffered a stroke, although he’s now recovered and again in motion, and Rieflin left the fold, to get replaced by Linda Pitmon.
The Good: Corin Tucker’s large, clear voice would improve any setting — in an alternate actuality, she could be a kd lang-style chanteuse — and when all of the items match on Emerald Valley, few performers are extra stirring. The slow-burning gem “November Man” finds her calling out a cartoonish political villain “with hair of gold” who speaks “phrases so chilly” (no factors for guessing the inspiration) as a tangle of soiled guitar noise amplifies the sense of creeping dread, pushing Tucker to dramatic heights Patti Smith would admire. Using a wave of indignant desperation, she shouts and snarls to thrilling impact on the frantic “Final Likelihood County”, a surreal account of heading to a dead-end job on a bus whose wheels are “rotten, filled with pus.” Unhealthy instances have hardly ever sounded so cool. After these anxious epics, the beautiful ballad “Hey Lacey” closes Emerald Valley on a observe of badly wanted tenderness.
The Unhealthy: Some songs really feel like tough drafts that may have benefited mightily from revisions. Pondering social and environmental crises, Tucker expresses admirable sentiments in pedestrian methods, observing, “Spoil the land and the folks can’t reside” on “Pipeline”, noting, “Too many discover they’ve nowhere to go,” because of gentrification, in “One Flew East”, and lamenting the plight of immigrant “youngsters separated from their mother and father’ sides” on “Angels”. The music of those preachier tunes tends to be equally flat, with gentle melodies verging on blandness.
The Verdict: Regardless of the erratic materials, Emerald Valley has moments of spine-tingling brilliance that shouldn’t be missed. As different tasks compete for his or her consideration — Sleater-Kinney for Tucker, any variety of collaborations for Buck — right here’s hoping they reconvene for an additional go and spend extra time on the writing once they do.
Important Tracks: “Final Likelihood County”, “November Man”, and “Hey Lacey”
Purchase: Take a look at Filthy Buddies vinyl here.