Kill Rock Stars
“Supergroup” is such a ’70s concept. In that decade, it was rather assumed that rock bands would have a relatively short shelf life and any time a couple of people from existing bands got together, it was considered a major event. A lot of those ’70s supergroups weren’t all that super. A lot of them were fueled by desperation rather than the love of music. Now we have rock bands that been on the road for 50 years and it’s really not unusual for people to be fairly promiscuous in their collaborations. (How many bands and side projects does Dave Grohl play with?)
I don’t think it’s meaningful to call Filthy Friends a supergroup. Sure, Corin Tucker is one of the singer/guitarist from Sleater-Kinney. The rest of the band are Peter Buck and the touring members of R.E.M. (Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin) joined by Kurt Bloch of the Fastbacks. Now, Block and McCaughey also play together in the Minus 5 and Buck and McCaughey play together in the Baseball Project and Rieflin plays in the current version of King Crimson and… oh, you get the idea. This band is like most bands a bunch of friends who got together to make some noise and have some fun.
Invitation is fun. The lead off track, “Despierata”, sounds a lot like R.E.M. with Tucker on lead vocals. The tune was originally part of the 30 Songs in 30 Days project, early shot at the coming reign of the Orange One. (“Holding onto the past won’t make it repeat”). That gets the angst out of the way so the rest of the album is the friends having fun.
It’s fun to hear Tucker get into a swaggering glam rock groove on “Come Back Shelley”. The song’s got a slinky, sexy, come hither feel that calls for a video with that car ZZ Top used to run around with. The title track, “Invitation” has a casual, music hall vibe that recalls the mellower Kinks. “Any Kind of Crowd” has a joyous, anthemic feel that celebrates “any kind of love that can turn you on.” The rhythms on “Windmill” recall a certain kind of downtown NYC jitteriness. When Corin sings, “hang on my friends, we are almost home now. Hold on, dear ones, we are not so lost now” it is reassuring. We maybe going through some weird, super messed up times, but we’ll get through this together.
These are great songs, by some really cool musicians. It sounds like they had a good time making Invitation and they don’t really care if the rest of the world is paying attention. In a way, that makes me sad. I hope that the people, who will love it, find a copy of Invitation in the bins at their local indie record store and the discovery makes their day.