Friend/Enemy – 10 Songs

10 Songs

In the 80s, there used to be television ads for a charity organization called The United Negro College Fund (that helped assist young black men and women with college tuition) in which they would firmly state a memorable phrase, “a mind is a terrible waste.” The same could be say for musical talent: while by far much more trite than helping talented kids go to college expand their mind; nobody likes to see talented musicians put out material that is inaccessible, uncreative, and talentless.
On that note, Tim Kinsella is back like one of those famous 80s horror movie characters (i.e. Freddie, Jason, Michael Myers) in another installment of off-the-wall and zany antics in the disguise of a rock band. This time he’s decided to host his own private virtual indie rock orgy for members from Hella, Califone, 90 Day Men, Need New Body, Bride of No No, Mansion, Plastic Crime Wave, along with ex-bandmates from Cap ‘n Jazz and Joan of Arc.
Unfortunately, even with this amount of shear raw musical talent an arm’s length away, the group in unable to come up with anything resembling cohesive songwriting and substantially lacks memorable moments. Friend/Enemy is a difficult listen to say the least, mainly due to Tim Kinsella’s intentional off-key vocals. One might suggest that from this statement I’m not an avid fan of Kinsella’s previous work. Indeed I did enjoy Cap ‘n Jazz as well as many parts of Joan of Arc. What bothers me the most is the almost intentional use of being as humanly off-key as someone can be. The instrumentation on the record is somewhat intriguing, especially the incredible drumming of Zach Hill (from Hella) whose intricacy is the only saving grace on the record. Basically, Friend/Enemy is more or less a fuck around band that primarily uses improvisation techniques but fails miserably at creating anything of substance.
It seems everything is just a little too predictable on this record. Kinsella rants off and on about irrelevant nonsense topics while guitars, bass, and drums noodle about aimlessly in the background. Ridiculous song titles are put into place like “I’d Rather Be High than Fucked Any Day” as well as “Do the Stand on One Foot Dance to the Radio Rodeo” and of course my favorite “Cough Soft Cock Rock.” I’ve decided to skip any type of description on the songs themselves because of their incoherence and non-memorable moments. In other words, the only thing worse than listening to this record is trying to write about it.
The main point of this review is the concept of wasting precious goods. One might have thought that the resources were there to make a good record with quality musicians, good recording quality, and interesting artwork. Yet it is apparent that this talent was wasted on such a release lacks any substance. In conclusion, I would not suggest a person waste any of their hard-earned cash on such a mediocre and poorly constructed record. Instead I would explore the main work of some of the musicians that play on this CD, especially Ghosts and Vodka and Hella, because those bands’ records are phenomenal.