Just Friends

Hella

Written by: PP on 11/04/2022 20:22:47

Just Friends is a rather peculiar band, appearing to switch genres and styles on every album possible. Now on their third record "Hella", the elements of ska that permeated "Nothing But Love" are nowhere to be seen, just like the punk rock elements disappeared after "Rock To The Rhythm". Instead, the band is now fully engaged in funk-rock with jazzy vibes and significant portions of hip hop and urban elements mixed in as well.

As a result, "Hella" sees Just Friends walk on a tightrope between rock and pop where they're just about to fall off to the other side. The songs are eccentric and innovative, mostly driven by Brianna Leon's silky-smooth vocals and occasionally backed by guest artists like Lil B, Hobo Johnson, and Nate Curry. They are full of funky rhythms and lounge-style ambiance, backed by horn instrumentation and jazz interludes in between pop and hip hop passages. It's hardly rock music in places while drawing in from alternative rock elsewhere - "Hot" for example features some serious Rage Against The Machine influence and "Sizzle" rains down like a classic heavy metal song before morphing into Sonic Boom Six style urban rap'n'roll afterward.

It's hard to argue against the good vibes of the record: its jam-esque atmosphere makes it sound like the band is collectively partying and going through their idiosyncratic musical tastes in the process. But there is a certain element of cringe attached to it which makes it difficult to take "Hella" (and its title) seriously - I mean would you listen to "Stupid" (featuring Lil B)?

All of this makes it difficult to assess just who will listen to Just Friends and their third album? It's a weirdo's album that doesn't fit nicely into any genre pigeonhole. It's so unconventional the hip-hoppers will stay away, and too hip hop for most rock fans to pop on as anything else but a guilty pleasure. Can't say I'm a fan of the stylistic choices made on here.

6

Download: Shine, Basic, Hot, Stupid
For the fans of: (old) Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gym Class Heroes, Sugar Ray, 311
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.03.2022
Pure Noise Records

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