You know, I had no idea it had been six years since Les Savy Fav’s last record, 2001’s Go Forth. My how the time flies. Apparently, the band and lead man Tim Harrington went through a case of writer’s block which I did not know (I guess I should check Pitchfork more often). Also, Let’s Stay Friends includes an all-star cast of indie rock stars which raises a red flag for my skeptical soul. Emily Haines (Metric), Eleanor Friedberger (the Fiery Furnaces), Toko Yasuda (Enon), Nick Thorburn (the Unicorns), Joe Plummer (the Black Heart Procession) and Fred Armisen (SNL) all make appearances on Let’s Stay Friends. Thankfully, none of the guests ever overshadow the band and their songs.
With the opening track, the atmospheric “Pots & Pans” you realize that yes, six years have passed and this is certainly not the same Les Savy Fav. The band continues with some of the most melodic and tuneful material of their career. Yet, there is an air of experimentation that permeates Let’s Stay Friends. Les Savy Fav have never been content to sit still and it is comfortable and exciting to see the band still has that penchant for pushing their own limits. If you miss the old Les Savy Fav there are still songs here that should get your blood pressure up. “The Equestrian”, “Raging In The Plague Age” (which also appeared on a seven inch the band released in 2006) and “Slugs In The Shrubs” all bring to mind the band’s rawer early material. If Let’s Stay Friends is any indication though, taking six years off was quite possibly the best thing that Les Savy Fav could have done.
Let’s Stay Friends speaks to the band’s unwillingness to go gently into the night. The band has subtly reinvented themselves and released a fantastically imaginative album that captivates further with each listen. Les Savy Fav might have fallen off the top of the indie rock mountain but Let’s Stay Friends sees them ascending to their once great heights all over again.
RIYL: Gang Of Four, The Pixies, Q And Not U, Enon,