Record Review by Adam McKibbin
Social Life isn’t a misnomer; if Tami Hart’s new project were, in fact, an animate object, it would be the life of most parties. These are nine tracks that celebrate simple pleasures: fuzzy dance-punk with big beats and impassioned but too-cool-to-get-carried-away yelps, all basking under a lovingly lo-fi glow.
Once upon a time, Tami Hart was a precociously young folkie lauded by the New York Times as a next big thing. Her indie bona fides were secured even before she was signed by Kathleen Hanna. Her crossover potential was hinted at by glowing pieces on sites like All Music Guide, which saluted her “emotionally raw folk-pop” which was “tragically beautiful.”
Making Friendz are neither tragic nor beautiful, and they’re better for it. Though Hart isn’t a newcomer, Social Life is technically a debut – and it has the boisterous, ramshackle glee of a new band finding its way and not giving much of a fuck what anyone thinks about it. The stomping “Situation” launches the album with one of its undeniable highlights, a hyper party-jam that’s retro enough to base a chorus around the spelling of its title (and pull it off with panache) – and now has a companion gross-out video to go along with it. And it’s not about The Situation. I don’t think. Though there is a line about being commodities and kids at sea.
If the somberness of the album isn’t yet apparent, track two is titled “Luv Cruizin” and finds Hart starting in electronica siren mode, achingly cooing insults about how all your records sound the same to her, then switching up into predatory Peaches mode for the “don’t wanna hurt nobody, I just wanna touch your body!” chorus. Did we mention that she was influenced by Timbaland and Timberlake? The come-ons continue into “Don’t Make Me Cry,” but then icy synth-pop signals hurt feelings on “Reject Me,” which feels like a not fully formed thought, but retreats before the two minute mark. Rescuing what threatens to be a mid-album lull is the MGMT thrust of “Symphony,” which builds to another simple but mightily infectious chorus. The closing third takes another dip back down, although the snappy “Yr Shadow” is an exception, packing just the right attitude into its “Brooklyn gets the blues” vibe. Overall, Social Life is a sugar rush; if you don’t have a social life for it to soundtrack, it may send you hunting.
Making Friendz "Situation" from wildwood on Vimeo.
More by this writer:
Corin Tucker - Interview
Austra - Feel It Break
Shugo Tokumaru - Port Entropy
Marques Toliver - Butterflies Are Not Free