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Album Review: Friko - 'Where We've Been, Where We Go'

For a debut album, Friko’s Where We’ve Been, Where We Go From Here presents everything I need to become fully invested: A powerful and building intro, movement and action, reflective hooks, climbs, and a lullaby.

 

A Great Start

I have been writing album reviews for over five and a half years, and during that time, I have learned that the intro to an album is a crucial criterion on my rubric; On Where We’ve Been, Where We Go From Here, Friko delivers. A distance machine’s sound is followed by a quiet, simple guitar with vocals. The addition of percussion and the build. Yes. Maybe it goes back to Stop Making Sense, but I love it. Then the question is how far will the band take it. The louder and the more chaotic, the better for me. Back to the quiet before the fade. It is fairly dramatic, but music replicates emotions better than any other art.


I must have listened to “Where We’ve Been” at least five times as much as any of the other songs on this album. (I initially wrote ten times, which sounded better, but I cut it back to five, even though I should have written three times. Twelve listens compared to four is the closest to the truth.) It is a highlight. The “Crimson To Chrome” intro doesn’t reel me in the same way.

That doesn’t mean I do not like it. Midway through, I am completely invested. I think it is the hammering percussion. Then, it makes a loud transition into “Crashing Through.”

 

My Thoughts, an Interlude

The last half year has been very strange for me. My head has been infected by terrible human beings doing evil things. In a way, it seems like it is a carryover from the lessons on humanity that I learned during the Covid shutdown. People get the opportunity to put in work and make changes, but most are lazy and choose the easy way out.


My last novel explored the effects of severe bullying and hazing based on archaic traditions. While I celebrated the novel’s heroes and tried to give less coverage to the villains, the material was still extremely heavy. When I finished, I needed to write a strange, humorous story as a form of self-care.


I realize that the situations in the world affect musicians, too. I’ve heard it in the music and seen it in live performances. However, I also realize that music is a much-needed outlet for me, and I appreciate groups like Sault with songs like “I Just Want to Dance.”

 

I just wanna danceDance, dance, dance

Makes me feel alive

Feel alive

I get kind of mad

Mad, mad, mad

We lost another life

Life, life, life

 

You won’t see me cry

No, no, no

 

Music is the heartbeat of my soul, so sometimes I am demanding of artists. I need them to push my emotions on many levels with many layers. If not, I will drown without balance.  

 

Back to Friko

“For Ella” and “Until I’m With You Again” are the album’s slow points, but their pace helps them stand out among the six other songs that get the heart pumping. (I did not include “Cardinal” because I love a lullaby outro as much as a powerful intro.) They are sweet and reflective. In a novel, they might be considered the plot points. Then, they are followed by songs with faster tempos to move the album and not dwell and drag their listeners down.

 

“Cardinal” is a perfect ending. Friko takes listeners on a musical ride with them for an entire album, and in the last song, this young and upcoming band musically tucks in their audience, kisses them on their forehead, and says goodnight.

 

Final Thoughts

I needed an album like this, full of emotion, without denying it. Life is difficult, but art, especially music, helps us accept and reconfigure our thoughts, which is the basis of evolution.

 

Final Thoughts Redux

Where We’ve Been, Where We Go from Here is a great debut album. I am very excited to see where this band goes.

 

Favorite Songs

“Where We’ve Been,” “Chemical,” and “Until I’m With You Again”

 

Rating - 5/5 (for giving me what I’ve been needing, a strong, well-produced album)

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