It’s been a couple of years since Me and My Friends released their critically acclaimed second album and since then their time has been massively invested in a life on tour. Having toured the world relentlessly and garnered themselves a legion of fans around the world they have now returned to the sunny shores of England once more to record and release their third studio album Look Up.
Me and My Friends are one of the most charmingly enigmatic and eccentric acts on the music scene today with their peculiar and unique blend of folk that draws on a variety of influences from across the globe including (but not limited to) Afro-Brazilian folk, Jamaican roots, salsa, reggae and even ska. Theirs is a truly vibrant and versatile, dizzying mixture that transcends any true classification of sound. Look Up is underpinned by a collection of burning guitar melodies, deftly finger picked by singer-songwriter Nick Rasle. These tunes are bright, brazen and restlessly cheerful – chords that when brought together play out like the sound of sunshine. Atop this is a stunning collection of spirited cello, bass, drums and soulful clarinet. The speed and vivacity with which these are all pieced together brings the tunes to life in a jumping, frivolous manner with a grandiose and jubilant nature that is woefully infectious.
This friendly, easy-going sound is lead by the elegant, lulling vocals of Rasle, a voice that is perfectly suited to such a tender outfit. His smooth voice intermingles effortlessly with the jazz infused offers the band spin together. Look Up itself is a marvellous album that is carefully peppered with instrumentals – as astounding at their songs are, it is still nice to hear when they pull away from any form of dialogue and instead simply show off their considerable talents on their respective instruments. There is one truly defining feature of Look Up and that is the smile that you will find yourself wearing as you listen to it. Their unique fusions are like nothing you have ever heard before, their cheerful personas flooding the world with summer all year round.
Look Up is a truly remarkable album not only in the context of the groups musical prowess but also in the warmth and cheer it is capable of bringing into the world. As soon as the album fires up with Another Lifetime you are hooked. No skipping, no pausing and definitely no stopping. Like boarding a one-way train the only solution is to let them take you on that journey and enjoy the ride.
Euro + UK live dates below or via Songkick: Thursday 6th Dec, Rich Mix, London Saturday 8th Dec – Cobalt Studios, Newcastle
Review by Joe Knipe