Good Friend are the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Under Stars And Gutters, a great Northern Irish punk band. As sad as I was about USAG’s breakup, having discovered and fallen in love with them when they were on tour with The Lawrence Arms a few years back, the new EP from Good Friend is an absolute cracker and a fantastic sign of things to come.
From the opening chords of Dance On, Graves, you know that something special is about to happen. From a fast-paced melody rammed intro, the song breaks into the first verse and some excellently gruff vocals. While we’re not in Chuck Ragan realms of gruffness, the vocals are rightly self-assured and ready to kick ass, fitting just perfectly with the tone of the EP. There are some powerful gang vocals scattered throughout the EP and Good Friend use the punk rock staple well. Dance On, Graves has one of the best written choruses of this year without question and will be in your head for days. And we’re still on the first track here. The colourfully named Oh Fuck Off, Crazy Kev! is a two minute tirade about apathy and homesickness that definitely wouldn’t be out of place on a Larry Arms album, except it’s got a killer key change at the end that completely changes the game. Hospital Walls rounds off the EP just perfectly with yet another knockout chorus. At just under seven minutes, it’s three tracks of pure incendiary perfection; punk rock with a real sense of melody and emotion that so many bands strive for and just fall short of.
Good Friend are writing the punk rock anthems our generation sorely needs. While we’re seeing a great show of bands from across the ocean, Good Friend are one of the best things to come out of Ireland right now. Go and pick the EP up from their Bandcamp today so that they can make more incredible music.
5 out of 5 high fives!