by Richard Wyatt
Philadelphia based band, Friendship, led by singer/songwriter, Dan Wriggins, return with their new and much anticipated album, Dreamin’.
Friendship have retained a loyal cult following since their first offering in 2015, You’re Going to Have to Trust Me, which was released on Burst and Bloom Records. The F/V Hope EP on Sleeper Records, and the much-loved Shock out of Season followed on their current label Orindal Records (Advance Base, Gia Margaret, Claire Cronin) in 2017.
Dreamin’, recorded during the summer of 2018 with the help of The Low Anthem’s Jeff Prystowsky, maintains Friendship’s trademark contemplative alt-country sound – its lyrics painting vivid images of human emotions that rock between intimacy and loneliness. But there is also nuanced continuity here; Dreamin’ moves away from the digitally programmed drums and Rhodes piano of the past, in order to adopt a feel that’s somehow starkly warm.
Lead single, Clairvoyant, encapsulates this, telling a story of a friend who offered support during a tough period in Wriggins’ life- ‘You asked if I’d been crying lately / I said, “how can you tell?” / You said, “I’m clairvoyant, baby!’”. The subject matter serious, but the storytelling told with a knowing deadpan – akin to that of Bill Callahan.
Other highlights include Several Stations, which describes a day in a person’s life where the smallest of human interactions are woven into a beautiful and poetic sound, and Not an Exit, in which the driver-narrator asks their passenger: ‘Can you see those cloudy symbols? / One for fine, two for miserable / three might stand for not insurmountable’. And while the message and the language used within the album are often unclear, the characters of Dreamin’ reflect humanity’s abiding search for love and understanding.
Friendship have delivered an album which is definitely be a late contender to be considered one of the best records to be released in 2019. Hopefully it reaches the audience that Wriggin’s songwriting clearly deserves.