12 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

New York’s Les Savy Fav has come back six years after 2001’s Go Forth hitting hard, with fresh energy, a new voice, and a focus that nails what the band has long aimed for. (Friends from bands such as Enon and Black Heart Procession make appearances here, providing additional character and texture to the endeavor.) They’ve succeeded on Let’s Stay Friends (their fourth studio album), and the title is a nod to the themes at work here: integrity, loyalty, and following one’s heart/gut. “Pots and Pans” opens like a simple rock song, no hardcore/post-punk angst in site, Harrington’s voice calmly narrating the saga of a beaten-down band hanging on to their dream, while the drums slowly roll out the foundation, and guitars twinkle and cartwheel. There’s something a little fantastical about the song, recalling the Flaming Lips at moments. But then, with the slightest pause, the band kicks into the raging “The Equestrian,” all Les Savy Fav punk passion. These opening tracks set the tone for a work comprised of both sweet and savory, of thoughtfully controlled force ... a work of great reward for the listener.

EDITORS’ NOTES

New York’s Les Savy Fav has come back six years after 2001’s Go Forth hitting hard, with fresh energy, a new voice, and a focus that nails what the band has long aimed for. (Friends from bands such as Enon and Black Heart Procession make appearances here, providing additional character and texture to the endeavor.) They’ve succeeded on Let’s Stay Friends (their fourth studio album), and the title is a nod to the themes at work here: integrity, loyalty, and following one’s heart/gut. “Pots and Pans” opens like a simple rock song, no hardcore/post-punk angst in site, Harrington’s voice calmly narrating the saga of a beaten-down band hanging on to their dream, while the drums slowly roll out the foundation, and guitars twinkle and cartwheel. There’s something a little fantastical about the song, recalling the Flaming Lips at moments. But then, with the slightest pause, the band kicks into the raging “The Equestrian,” all Les Savy Fav punk passion. These opening tracks set the tone for a work comprised of both sweet and savory, of thoughtfully controlled force ... a work of great reward for the listener.

TITLE TIME
2:38
3:27
2:26
3:51
2:56
4:13
2:43
2:40
3:18
3:01
3:06
4:20

About Les Savy Fav

Playing sharp but engaging post-hardcore with complex melodic lines, edgy guitar figures, and plenty of eccentric wit (their name, for instance, sounds French, but doesn't mean anything), Les Savy Fav were formed in 1995 by five friends attending the Rhode Island School of Design. Vocalist Tim Harrington, guitarists Seth Thom Jabour and Gibb Slife, bassist Syd Butler, and drummer Patrick Mahoney began making music together during downtime from their studies, and they spent two years playing clubs along the East Coast before their reputation spread to Seattle, where Sub Pop Records invited the band to record a single. "Rodeo" b/w "Blackouts on Thursday" was released in the fall of 1997, and by the end of the year, the band completed a full-length album, 3/5, released by the independent Self-Starter Foundation label. Les Savy Fav's live shows drew growing audiences, thanks to their striking music and Harrington's over-the-top stage antics, which sometimes included remarkable costumes and friendly invasion of the audience's space.

For their second full-length effort, 1999's The Cat and the Cobra, the group opted to release their album through Frenchkiss Records, an independent label formed by bassist Butler. The second album also featured a new drummer, Harrison Haynes, who replaced Mahoney. In 2000, Les Savy Fav shrunk from a quintet to a quartet with the departure of guitarist Slife, and Go Forth, released in the fall of 2001, was their first full-length effort as a four-piece, following the well-received EP Emor: Rome Upside Down. In 2004, Les Savy Fav collected a number of their small-label singles on a compilation called Inches, and they maintained an increasingly busy schedule as a live act, busy enough that it was becoming difficult for Harrington, who was raising a family with his wife, and Butler, whose Frenchkiss label was enjoying success with the Hold Steady, Passion Pit, Local Natives, and many more.

In 2005, Les Savy Fav announced they were going on an indefinite hiatus, but their sabbatical didn't last very long. By late 2006, the band reconvened to begin recording a new album, and in May 2007 they returned to the stage at the British All Tomorrow's Parties festival. Let's Stay Friends was released by Frenchkiss in the fall of 2007, and received enthusiastic reviews; it also found the band welcoming a new guitarist, Andrew Reuland, and working with a number of guest musicians, including Toko Yasuda of Enon and Blonde Redhead, Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces, and comedian and percussionist Fred Armisen. Les Savy Fav documented their strength as a live act with the digital-only concert LP After the Balls Drop (recorded at a New Year's Eve show that rang in 2008), and in the summer of 2010, they issued their fifth full-length studio album, Root for Ruin. ~ Mark Deming

  • ORIGIN
    Providence, RI
  • FORMED
    1995

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