Sound: How do you put a band like Your Best Friend in a category when they have the steely rod riffs of The Receiving End Of Sirens, the soaring climaxes of Circa Survive, and the pearlescent emo-punk feathering of Amber Pacific? The band's music has so many components with all of them conveying utter agreement. YBF's self-titled full-length album recalls of the post-hardcore age, while heralding in a contemporary mold for punk-rock hybrids. The depths of lead vocalist John Bonham's register has the raw cut of Sevendust's Lajon Witherspoon, converging with collapsible spirals by guitarist Steve Sochanek. Along with Bonham's guitar and keyboard work, the tunes produce layers of rugged tugging and tension filled riffs tethered to the rocky swells of drummer Nick Edler and bassist Dale Brown. The blustery guitar spins of Dear Heavenly Father are in contrast to the languid melodic lifts of Aboriri, which build up into a blazing conflagration in the climax before expelled in the outro. The granite-hard beating which buttresses Keeping Company is gloved by layers of dangling keyboards and meaty guitar riffs. Bonhams' vocals grow thick and stormy through Near Perfect Wrists magnifying the intensity of the lyrics when he intones, I will make you proud again, if I can just save myself.
The steely ridges in the guitar spikes along You'll Never Feel Anything Again evoke a belligerent voicing, which cools off in the slinky slender layers of The Path Of An Illogical Liar. One of YBF's strengths is producing lavish climaxes, which they are extremely proficient at currying. Another strength lies the band's slow moving chimes which seep into the thick folds and lighten the weight of the piece like in White & Red. At times the songs project a rampage of weathered and torn pelts like in the tattered trimmings of Close Your Eyes And Drive Away, and other songs show a sense of seeking redemption like in I'm Afraid Of Myself And Everything I Haven't Done. The songs, believe or not, show wisdom in the transitional phrases and chord progressions as well as in the lyrics. Your Best Friend's album is one way that modern rock is veering towards, and it's not a disappointment. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics show a need to lick one's wounds and mend what is broken inside of one's self. Some discernible themes in the words project a sense of wnting to do something worthy to justify one's existence, and to reach a place of safety that is indestructible. The verses in Near Perfect Wrists whirl through a profusion of feelings, Now you're here, and I cry out / "Please father don't see me like this" / Your open arms embrace me / With my open wound still bleeding / You say "What's done is done. We'll go on to learn from this." / But I'm too torn apart / I'm broken, I can't be fixed now / Now I'll shed my skin before your naked eyes / Do you like what I've become / I've laid alone for eighteen years now / This is how I wanna go on / I don't need anyone at all / Let me lie / One last time / Let cold earth embrace my life / I won't lie / Won't say I've tried / Still you stand strong by my side / You find me cut open and cold / Too dark to see what I have done / Please father save your flesh and blood / Don't leave me, Don't leave me. // 8
Overall Impression: Your Best Friend's self-titled album has songs that identify with individuals today and act as a source of encouragement to pull folks out of their slump. Their climaxes are awe-striking and turgid, and the dangling chimes hanging over the wings of sepulchral-laden riffs are a sign of optimism in the thick of typhoon-wielding spirals. YBF pave a road for modern rock to follow, and it certainly shows a lot of promise for this genre. Thick, muddy, rugged, and raw and yet completely melodic, YBF's self-titled album fuses contrasting elements and tension into a harmonious heap of punk-rock that arouses and satisfies for the post-hardcore age. Their national tour is currently underway. // 8