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Friends is the latest release from Licehead, a.k.a. Paul O’Connor of That Snaake notoriety. The four-track EP follows last year’s album Music For Normal People and serves as a precursor to upcoming album, Perfect Death Forever. If or when this will see the light of day, or whether it will be related to the lyrical subject matter of Friends, remains to be seen.
What we do know is that Friends is a caustic sonic onslaught. O’Connor vents his spleen over a backdrop of lo-fi, post-punk noise so abrasive it could polish steel. De facto title track ‘fRENDS’ sets the tone, reimagining the theme tune from the ‘90s sitcom for chain-smoking nihilists, pitting laconic wails of frighteningly witty lines like, “If he knew it’d be used for his missing poster, he would have retaken the selfie”, against tinny guitars and drum machines. This builds to a darkly hooky outro, with the self-damning, “I’ve made my bed now there’s a sleeping dog in it”, repeated ad nauseam. Licehead is sad, and he wants you to know about it.
Instrumental ‘In A Room’ offers a brief departure into Dadaist noise territory, before ‘bLACK hAT’ sees Licehead channelling Dragnet-era The Fall. It’s primitive sounding, with repetitive synths and an acidic word salad:
“Smells like salt and vinegar/ Smells like Gary Lineker/ The grass stains of shit and shame/ It’s a question of sport/ An answer of spraoi.”
On the other hand, “mY gIRL 2” is as close as the short release comes to being straight-forward. The song deploys fuzzed out, garage rock guitars over a driving rhythm and a stomper of a middle-eight.
All in all it’s an enjoyable, if unsettling, listen. Apt for the times we’re in, although probably not all that reflective of much more than what the dangers of staying indoors for too long can do to the mind.