Friendship is a groovy power trio from Oslo, Norway who have just released their second studio album ‘Ain’t No Shame’. The band was formed in 2010 and features Fredrik Skalstad on vocals and drums, Sander Erikson Nordahl on guitar and Martin Moreland on bass. The band describes themselves as combining the psychedelic vibe of the late 60’s with the heart and soul of early 70’s rock, and include Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad, Cream and Earth Wind and Fire among their influences. One listen and this is a spot on description of a retro funky rock sound that feels like it is from a other time. The album opens with the song Are You Ready and a jazzy drum solo. The song has an upbeat energy and a definite groovy, funky sound. The song is short and sweet and really defines the bands sound straight out of the gate. Clear vocals, upbeat guitar and a fuzzy, dirty bass line stand out.
Next up is Gypsy with lyrical themes of women and love. This song has a deeper tone with the bass coming to the forefront. Still groovy and psychedelic, it has a Ruch lo-fi feel to the mix. Skalstads vocals are smooth and light and the song has a fun feel. We are treated to an extended guitar solo that gives us a taste of what is to come. This leads in to the title track of Ain’t No Shame. This song defines the albums sound, and really the bands sound too. It gives us a more down and dirty sound with a very soulful twist. This song mixes up elements with changes in pace and harmonies, and has a it of a jamming out feel. A wailing guitar solo makes an appearance. So far this album actually sounds like it came from the seventies and it works with what the band is going for.
Harmony Turns To Sound goes into blues territory with a bit of a sexy vibe. Nordahls guitar works takes stage here with whammy effects and a very funky sound. They do stray into easy listening territory and that impression continues in the next track Got Me Feeling So Good. There is not a psychedelic vibe to this track, and the rock element comes to the for. There is no trace of heaviness and this track almost reminds me of the famous song Afternoon Delight with its easy listening feel. This track is a feel good trackk, the music poppy and the lyrics singing of all the good and innocent things in the world that make you happy. Very melodic.
We slow down with the ballad feel of Moments. The production on this song, and even the whole album, makes you feel like this is actually an album from the baby boomer era that you picked up from a vintage music store. This song has an element of sadness and bemoans our rushed modern world and how we have no time to take in the moments. It lends a personal feel this album needed. The organ sound is subtle and plays well with the guitar, which picks us up with a rock-tinged solo. This song is a real ’69’ era song that will make you feel wistful. We launch back into a groovy pace with the aptly named Fire. Sparse instrumentation highlight the lyrics of sex and love, with a deep bass line that Barry White would be proud of. This is a highlight on the album. That funky deep bass continues on with a darker fell in Alaska Night. Melodic, heavy vocals with parred down bluesy guitar parts show us another side Friendship. It really works and is a refreshing change of pace. Morelands funky bass lines on this track are a highlight of the album.
We then return to the psychedelic hard rock tone with Live Peacefully. The rock influences really come out to play on this track. A bit of soul is added to the mix and the female backing vocals really stand out. The guitar solo plays along side a saxophone solo that gives depth to this track and provides something new and different. This is the track on the album you can dance to and it feels like the band really find their hard rock feet. This blues and soul element follows us into the closing track, Truth In Your Lies. We hear the saxophone again, along with more socially conscious lyrics. The vocals f Skalstad and the backing singers play off of each other and really pull you in. This song has a ‘jam band’ feel, going on for a little too long with different sounds and elements, as though the band were just jamming out.
If you are a fan of the late 60s and early 70s this is the album for you. The band do that retro groovy rock sound well and provide an enjoyable listening experience. This is an album to put on when you are sitting back and chilling out. It has been described as a mood enhancing substance and that is a very accurate description. It may not be mind blowing but ain’t No Shame is a solid listening experience for fans of groovy, power psychedelic rock.
Ain’t No Shame is out now and you can get your copy HERE!