Sheffield's Best Friends sound nothing like Arctic Monkeys and that's a good thing. A few years ago and any band from the same town as Turner and the boys would have gotten tagged with some comparisons to those guys. Luckily, Best Friends have sprung up more recently and they've taken their inspirations from a whole other set of acts. Those influences help the band shape their brand of raucous rock into something memorable. The new LP from Best Friends, Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane., is out in a few weeks on Fat-Cat Records.
On stuff like the expertly-titled "Shred Til You're Dead", Best Friends sound like nothing so much as an earlier wave of great U.K. bands who took their cues from even earlier U.S. acts. If you're old and cool enough to remember Llama Farmers or Yatsura, I think you'll know what I mean.
The soaring "Holy Mountain" recalls both early U2 and early Nirvana, no small feat, and the overall effect is an intoxicating and invigorating one, like much of what's on Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane. Similarly, "Fake Spit" surges ahead on a lot of youthful energy and the riffs come hard and fast. "Orange Juice" might not be named after the seminal Scottish band with Edwyn Collins but it's affecting all the same and it shows a side of Best Friends beyond the near-grunge hooks. "Cold Shapes" offers even more variety as things slow down slightly and the bass-and-drum patterns give a bounce to the song that really charms, as do those backing harmonies.
Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane. is not going to rewrite the rulebooks for indie rock but it is going to inject the genre without a helluva lot of spark and fire, and for that reason I highly recommend it. Fans of early Ash and early Teenage Fanclub will groove on what's here. Best Friends, like those earlier bands, know how to expertly blend crunchy chords and catchy choruses and I totally dig that.