Where we’ve been, Where we go from here by Friko album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions


Where we’ve been, Where we go from here


“Cause every coward looks away / from all the light crashing through.” Chicago chamber folk meets post-punk band Friko, made up of duo Niko Kapetan and Bailey Minzenberger, are starting off the year right. In an album that reminds me of Arcade Fire’s incendiary entrance onto the modern rock stage in the early aughts—except turn the hards up even harder, and the softs down even softer!—they offer what promises to be one of the best releases of the year.

“Where we’ve been, Where we go from here,” is the phrase that almost opens and almost closes their album of the same name. They’ve said that in their live shows, people dance like a pogo stick to one song and cry like babies in the corner to the next. That is one of the absolute selling points of this record and this band, that they make you feel all the feels humanly possible, in a short span of time. Like their chamber folk song, “For Ella,” (“Ella, Ella you’re a shooting star / a floating ballerina through the yard,”) with it’s classical sounding piano and strings, or their hit single, “Crimson to Chrome,” (“I’m sitting here writing the same sad song / with the cogs on fire,”) with its Arcade Fire-like gang vocals and searing guitars.

They had a fairly quick rise, playing shows in reputable venues in Chicago, playing Bonaroo, and signing to the venerable ATO records. Their friendship for many years has created a chemistry that is undeniable; their love for the likes of Chopin and the most visceral guitar music has given them a loud-soft dynamic to be coveted; and this album, produced by Friko and Scott Tallarida and mastered by Heba Kadry, who’s worked with Bjork and Big Thief, is as emotional as you can get.

“We’re either too old or too bold or stupid to move / I guess we’re caught on the wrong side of the shoe again.” They seem neither “too old” or too “stupid”, and perhaps they won’t be on the “wrong side of the shoe” for very long, with such a stellar debut album appearing on the scene now. But really, it’s in tapping into their sensitivity to the hardships of life and transforming it into superbly catchy and original music that they strike a real nerve. An impressive album that suggests “where we go from here” will be to some pretty interesting places.

Order Where we’ve been, Where we go from here by Friko album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions by Friko HERE


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