Wearing sunglasses like old people do, this is the latest supergroup featuring Peter Buck (R.E.M) and Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows/REM). This time they've hooked up with not inconsiderable talents of Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney) for some snotty and raucous avant rock. Yup I just heard Buck's trademark jangle behind the angular arrangements. With lots of talent on show (including one of King Crimson) this actually could be good.
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The most enthralling thing about the debut by Filthy Friends is trying to work out how a band featuring Corin Tucker (Sleater Kinney) and Peter Buck (REM) could be so bad.
They play a kind of straight-down-the-middle bar-room rock that sounds something akin to a bunch of accountants letting their hair down on the weekend and rocking out in front of their friends. Opener 'Despiereta' is a shocker - more Pat Benatar than Patti Smith with pointless guitar riffs and unfathomably uninventive vocals. 'Windmill' is better by way of having some kind of hook that you might recall but Tucker's vocals are so bland throughout that there's nothing to grab onto. What this seems to be is just a total mismatch. There's nothing wrong per se with Buck's riff rocking. 'Faded Afternoon' is as plaintive as any late period REM and 'Any Kind of Crowd' begins with a classic riff somewhere between the dBs 'Neverland' and REM's own 'Sitting Still' but the song demonstrates what I always thought was true, Buck needed the off kilter art rock inclinations of Michael Stipe to be truly effective. When accompanied by a singer that just sings along the effect is completely forgettable. For her part Tucker needs something more angular going on behind her.
The only positive really is that Buck's jangly guitar playing is as enjoyable as ever but it's hamstrung by unmemorable arrangements and overly rock vocal delivery. I don't think that this will appeal either to REM or Sleater Kinney fans. Instead it sits somewhere in between in a kind of heartland rock no-mans-land.
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