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Album Review

Where a lot of indie pop bands pay lip service to the old punk "anyone can do it" spirit and the childlike aesthetic of bands from the Beach Boys through Young Marble Giants and Heavenly, it's rare to find a group who puts their money where their mouth is. The Birmingham, AL, sibling duo of Leslie and Reed Lochamy delivers on both counts: respectively, the Lochamys play banjo and clarinet on a song apiece for their debut album, despite the fact that neither had ever picked up either instrument. Meanwhile, the song "TV Shows" features a splatty free jazz-sounding trumpet from the duo's 11-year-old cousin, and the closing track, "So Mean," features lyrics written by another cousin, this one the ripe old age of five. They even do a version of the old Sesame Street song "Dressed for Tea," and the remarkable thing is that it sounds like an original. Or maybe it's that the 15 originals sound like Sesame Street songs. There's that same sort of winsome quality about these songs, even the ones that are covered in Yo La Tengo-style sheets of sound or played at nodding, Galaxie 500-like tempos. Leslie's breathy little-girl voice and Reed's flat, Dean Wareham-esque monotone are just like the voices of any number of other indie folks, but there's something pleasurable about the way the duo writes songs that flatter their strengths (the songs all sound terrific) while minimizing their weaknesses (the songs don't seem to actually be about anything). Plenty of bands have done this kind of cuddly, edge-of-incompetence D.I.Y. pop before, but rarely so cleverly.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Birmingham, AL, couple Leslie Lochamy (bass, vocals, keyboards) and Reed Lochamy (guitars, vocals, keyboards) formed a two-person recording "project" in 1997, experimenting with several names before deciding on Friends of Sound. With songs often featuring aspiring musician friends, trumpet playing 11-year-olds, and a five-year-old songwriter (a cousin who wrote the lyrics to "So Mean"), their simple pop compositions sound like "early classic Sarah Records 7" singles filtered through a late model...
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Rock-Ola, Friends of Sound
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