ACTION FRIEND: Self-titled: CD

Mar 24, 2009

Action Friend’s heavy debut immediately penetrates your warm, wet, sonic psyche—whether you like it or not—and that’s how it is for the rest of this erratic, yet well planned and expertly executed sonic voyage into the genre blending, grunge-saturated, mind-fuck zone. You will either love it or hate it, but it’s not going to stop. Track one, “Powerbate,” instantly erupts hardcore/grunge style just long enough to get the hard head-nod rhythm going before sliding into rapid, Herman Munster-like surf for a few measures—complete with old-school hand claps—before bridging into some very stony, traditional reggae. Then it spasmodically returns to the original furious brain bashing. Just when you feel the rhythm and think you know where these songs are going, they make abrupt shifts in style, tone, speed, and direction. While other fusion bands seamlessly blend in and out of various styles, Action Friend’s genre-bending is much more segmented while remaining clearly connected to what came before. It’s like being thrown around on a rough carnival ride that has a few deliberately broken bolts and no restraining bar. Track three, “Decorator’s Lament,” evolves from a hip-swiveling ditty to a Dick Dale-like surf tune, to a brief double-bass fueled Slayer-like metal interlude, more Melvinsish coagulated fuzz, and some of that creepily soothing muzak stuff, before allowing all of these elements to dance in and around each other. There are no words, only seven expertly executed tracks of delightfully weird rhythmic concoctions—with added pummeling by Melvins’ Dale Crover—that create a strong sense of deliberate madness. I love playing this and watching people’s expressions of amazed confusion. 

 –Marcus Solomon (Pelvic Thrust)