With just under one hundred Facebook likes, No Friends rather appropriately prove that it really is quality, not quantity, that matters. The Hudson Valley quartet composed of Jack Barham (guitar/vocals), Tim Wells (bass), Stephen Appel (guitar), and Ben Opatut (drums) have been quietly honing their craft, releasing a record every few months since their formation in 2014. Those few who have been watching have quickly grown obsessed, singing the praises of the little-known band in hopes of increasing their audience.
If we’re talking genres, No Friends’ newest release, i’m not real, loosely fits somewhere between shoegaze and slowcore. The record could have been made twenty years ago, before any of the members were even alive. While No Friends clearly reflect the influence of bands like Codeine, the six tracks on i’m not real are more inspired by a very specific, personal mood. The album’s frequent crescendos mirror the emotional highs and lows associated with stress, depression, and anxiety. These instrumentals, paired with hesitant, solemn vocals, evoke a distinct feeling of depression – the suffocating feeling of hopelessness, the struggle to emerge from a cloud. Although numb, muddled confessions, such as “I’m taking Percocet…but it never feels good / I don’t feel anything,” dominate the album, No Friends hold close the rare moments of contentment.