ARTIST: JUST FRIENDS
TITLE: NOTHING BUT LOVE
LABEL: PURE NOISE RECORDS
WORDS: CHRIS PRENATT
Ok let’s address something that no one wants to ever discuss: emo and pop-punk are very generic genres. Everyone wants to sound like Modern Baseball, Taking Back Sunday, or Brand New. No one tries to add anything new to them. It gets stale sometimes.
But when a band comes out of the blue and tries to add something new to the emo and pop-punk style, people pay attention. Thus in this case, the Californian ska-funk-jazz-pop-punk-hip-emo-nontet Just Friends.
Just Friends are, hands down, one of the most interesting bands in the scene. The group keep the emo lyrics and style in their songs while also combining in elements found in groups such as The Band Apart, Mom Jeans., Red Hot Chili Peppers, and early Stacked Like Pancakes. While this might sound like a mishmash of chaos, the group actually are able to bring these genres all together to make one of the most fascinating emo records of the decade, that record being their sophomore album ‘Nothing But Love‘.
Originally released back in December but re-released this year via Pure Noise Records, this thirteen track record is packed full of sad emo lyrics mixed in with the funkiness found in artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chaka Khan.
“While this might sound like a mishmash of chaos, the group actually are able to bring these genres all together to make one of the most fascinating emo records of the decade, that record being their sophomore album, ‘Nothing But Love’ “
‘Nothing But Love‘ features such simple lyrics that are easy to dissect and the perfect amount of funk and ska to get anyone moving to the beat, regardless where they are. The album also shows the band improving in their craft, with Brianda Goyos León’s powerful vocals soaring over the gruff stylings of vocalist Sam Kless, and trombonist Chris Palowitch going all out with his instrument.
The album features some pretty solid tracks, like the groovy ” I Wanna Love You” which has Brianda Goyos León showing off how powerful she really is for over four incredible minutes. Her voice is so sweet yet so damn strong, and when backed over by the rest of Just Friends, she truly shines like a diamond. “Never Gonna Bring You Down” is a happy-go-lucky track that’s an overall banger and is the best album opening number to come out in years. “Faucet”, the longest song clocking in at five minute and two seconds, is an extremely sad song that has the band playing soft and sweet with Kless crooning, “I’m so filled with hate, I wish I could change / When I see me now I don’t know what 2 say / I’m trying so hard I try everyday / Sorry now is all I can say”. It nearly brings a tear to your eye.
“once you’re done listening to it, you wanna give it a second spin“
However, the album gives us some time to breathe with skits like the album’s opener ‘1-800-CHOP-CITY’ which has producer/guitarist Ryan Ellery calling Kless if they’re ready to wrap up recording the record before getting cut off by Kless transferring the call and then handclaps. The other skit is the hilarious “107.7 KJFC” which has a DJ getting phone calls from fans complaining about the record and band for changing their sound drastically from their previous venture and moving away from their well-known emo style. Also there’s a cute shoutout to crabcore legends Attack Attack! with Just Friends getting yelled at for having a lack of autotune, breakdowns, and quantized trigger drums, plus songs like “Smokeahontas” and “Stick Stickly” get referenced.
‘Nothing But Love‘ is a fun record that will fill you all the emo and pop-punk cravings you need with the added bonus of funky horns and groovy chords. It’s a perfect album that lets you escape this harsh reality that we live in. And once you’re done listening to it, you wanna give it a second spin. Overall, it’s a damn good time.