The band’s music began as demos recorded by Samantha Urbani, who decided – after years of writing and recording music – to finally share her work with audiences. The Bushwick band came together through a mix of history (Urbani has known Lesley Hann since 2nd grade) and happenstance (fleeing bedbugs, Hann and Oliver Duncan stayed with Urbani). Along with Matt Molnar and Nikki Shapiro – and a few jam sessions – the band formerly known as Perpetual Crush played their first show, less than a week after their inception. The jam continues in the band’s live show, which finds the multi-instrumentalists exchanging roles on stage.
Despite designating it weird pop, there’s nothing too weird here. Urbani’s lyrics are sly, her vocals meander but always come back to a solid hook. There is a dance music groove that permeates, thanks to robust percussion and funky basslines. The video for lead single “Friend Crush” is a psychedelic kaleidoscope filled with glitter and costume jewelry.
While “Friend Crush” is a dreamy tribute to friendship, “I’m His Girl” is all swagger. The lyrics offer an empowered take on relationships, and the video feels like a hip-hop clip out of Brooklyn, circa 1988. The b-side is firmly in the next decade, however: a spot-on cover of Ghost Town DJ’s classic “My Boo.” One of the 90s most memorable hooks, it’s a perfect choice for a band whose music is nostalgic yet forward-thinking. And maybe just a little weird.
Friends open for Ganglians at the Red Palace on Tuesday, November 15.