Friendship Music is perfect in its aggressiveness. Not since the early Black Flag days or L7’s litany of shredded social abrasiveness has there been a punk album as poignant as this.
There is no passiveness when it comes to Surfbort’s songs. Even in their irony the votive is a strong call to action. On “Sunshine,” the band uses the disposition to voice their concerns against the government; from “the government is going to make you pay,” to the blatant conclusive “fuck the government,” stance poignantly sung over and over again. And it’s effective. I looked like the animated gif of Jack Nicholson from The Shining, grinning while continuously head nodding. Yes . . . yes! Bash out songs like “Pretty Little Fucker” Build that pit from a stymie flow to a roaring dust storm on “Rats.” Rejoice in the chaos that are these three-chord social shakers.
Vocalist Dani Miller constantly feels on the edge while leading you down their ideological path with a maniacal vocal tone. “High Anxiety” is a psychological admittance in its purest form. I cannot think of a better representation of the human condition than that. When she sings something like “White People,” it builds up from an internal abyss and spews out with great propensity. Her finger pointing comes out of left field. “White people, white families, going on a picnic and eating cheese.” It’s not exactly the racial theme song you would guess but artistically is more vibrant.
You expect to hear Rollins yell out, “Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie,” with the drum beat from “Trashworld,” but the song explodes into unchartered territory while keeping the framework within the confines of classic ‘80s punk. The video looks like an outtake from Class of Nuke ‘Em High. The song is sure to catapult you out of your chair and into a raw fury. Each song is exhilarating in its own way.
There are punk albums and then there is Friendship Music.