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Firefriend’s Rcknrll: A Hypnotic Live Trip Through Fuzz-Fueled Psychedelia

Hailing from São Paulo, Brazil Firefriend is a shoegaze, psychedelic rock band from whose music can melt your mind. They have been feeding listeners a unique and hypnotic brew of rock music since 2006. They make gritty rock with the guitars drowning in effects with krautrock inspired grooves. Rcknrll is a blistering live album that captures their sonic assault in all its glory.

Firefriend‘s music thrives in a live performance setting. The power of the guitars and kaleidoscopic sonic textures hit stronger straight from the source. This three-piece outfit (Yury Hermuche on guitar and vocals, Julia Grassetti on bass, keyboards, and vocals, and Caca Amara on drums) conjures a massive soundscape that transcends their numbers. “Rcknrll,” recorded at The 74 Club in Sto Andre, Brazil 2022, boasts a surprisingly pristine audio quality – a testament to the band’s tight control over their effects and sonic chaos. Rcknrll is the bands newest album released on vinyl in February of 2024 via Cardinal Fuzz (UK) and Little Cloud Records (USA).

The song ‘Avalanche‘ is a highlight from the album with distant vocals, driving rhythms, and wailing guitar lines that dance on a wave of feedback. The drums hit hard with simple lines which change and insert subtle complexities. The driving bass comes through loud and clear with its pulsating tone. The guitar takes plenty of time to rip into instrumental sections. The verses have guitar lines with a strong attacks and repeater delays multiplying each strum into infinity. Every moment has experimental effects expertly harnessed into fluid psychedelia.

Firefriend‘s formula on Rcknrll has fuzzed out guitars, deep bass lines and steady drums propelling the listener into a trance. The drummer Caca Amara is the steady guiding force with a consistent energized momentum. The fuzzed out bass lines, courtesy of Julia Grassetti, create a hypnotic pulse. Tonally the bass has a velvety texture with seared edges. The interaction between the drums and bass compel the audience to move while the guitar blasts out a vortex of sustained notes and effects.

Dual vocalists Yury and Julia add another layer of texture. Julia‘s alto range, reminiscent of Kim Gordon‘s early Sonic Youth, adds a gritty edge, while Yury’s vocals, though less prominent in the mix, complement the overall intensity. Live settings often pose challenges for vocals, but Firefriend manages to keep things cohesive despite the sonic onslaught.

The guitar is a highlight on the album. The playing itself is not technical in the traditional sense. The playing style gives breathing room for the sustained throbbing, gritty, electrically charged performance. the pedal board has delays, reverbs, tremolo, multiple fuzz pedals to interact with the amplifier and guide the players hand. Yury has uncanny ability to layer massive amounts of effects with controlled feedback while never spiraling into swelling high pitched feedback. The guitar unleashes a massive wall of sound that is worth the price of admission.

Rcknrll serves as a retrospective of Firefriend‘s recent work, featuring tracks from their 2017 release all the way to their 2023 studio album. Each song is a living entity, evolving and morphing over time.

In this live performance they played ‘Decreation Facts‘ and ‘Hunt‘ are from the 2023 album Decreation Facts that would not be released until many months later giving the audience a taste of their newest music. ‘Three-Dimensional Sound Glitch‘ is from the 2021 album Dead Icons; ‘Avalanche‘ from the album Avalanche released in 2019; ‘Yellow Spider’ and ‘Surface To Air‘ are lifted from the Yellow Spider album from 2018; ‘Afterhours‘ is from the album Sulfur released 2018, ‘Dreamscapes‘ and ‘The Black Hole‘ are from the 2017 album The Black Hole.

Rcknrll is more than just a live album; it’s a portal into Firefriend‘s world of mind-bending psychedelia. The pristine audio quality, coupled with the band’s electrifying performance, makes you wish you were there. The expertly woven tapestry of old and new tracks creates a cohesive listening experience, showcasing the band’s mastery of atmosphere and sonic exploration. If you’re seeking a hypnotic journey through fuzz, effects, and pulsating rhythms, Rcknrll is a must-listen.