The Griswolds’ ‘ALL MY FRIENDS’ EP takes us along on a journey from exciting new experiences to crashing comedowns, exploring companionship in all of its forms.
Stream: ‘ALL MY FRIENDS’ – The Griswolds
Since their inception over six years ago, Aussie indie-alt juggernauts The Griswolds have made an impressive name for themselves. Touting an air of coolness with everything they did, The Griswolds upheld an enviable image of the cool kids of the scene, offering up a give-no-fucks attitude that made them personable, relatable, and made you wish they could all be your friends. Their two full-length studio albums, the aptly-titled 2014 debut Be Impressive and the 2016 follow-up, High Times for Low Lives have both received acclaim in the alternative scene, bringing them across the globe and in contact with an expansive community of musical heavy-hitters; High Times for Low Lives, for example, contains a Lizzo feature long before Lizzo was, well, Lizzo.
Following High Times for Low Lives, members of the group took a small break to pursue other professional and personal endeavors: drummer Lachlan West began touring with Walk the Moon, guitarist/producer Danny Duque-Perez became a father, and bassist Tim John left the band all together. Lead vocalist/guitarist Chris Whitehall was then, subsequently, left to make The Griswolds into whatever he wanted. In 2018, that came in the form of an acoustic album, Year After Year, which included a combination of old Griswolds originals mixed with cover songs. Then, in late 2019, The Griswolds began releasing new material; now, just two of the band’s original members remained: West and Whitehall.
On Valentine’s Day of this year, Griswolds fans were finally treated to what they’ve long awaited, a new EP entitled ALL MY FRIENDS (NHMM LLC). The five-track EP reminds listeners exactly why we all fell in love with the band in the first place, offering an exciting blend of pop sensibility and indie-alt intuition. Over the course of five songs, The Griswolds take us along on a journey from exciting new experiences to crashing comedowns, exploring companionship in all of its forms.
The EP opens with the leading single, “NICE TO MEET YA,” which feels befitting as a record opener — if not simply for its title. “NICE TO MEET YA” follows a sweet narrative of meeting someone new, and realizing that you want to spend all of your time with them. The song is a genuine ode to companionship, flaunting all of the best parts of finding someone new in your life; romantic or otherwise.
Following “NICE TO MEET YA,” the second, eponymous track “ALL MY FRIENDS” sheds light on some of the more problematic aspects of friendships, but justifies these faults by stating that sometimes life can just get the best of us. “ALL MY FRIENDS” reconciles the low times by acknowledging that life is too short to dwell on these things, and it’s better to “live and let die.” The track also pays homage to The Griswolds’ sophomore album, as Whitehall croons in the second verse: “This is high times / hail to the low lives.”
The halfway point of the EP, “SOMEBODY,” ultimately depicts a less positive picture, as Whitehall sings of a tumultuous on-and-off relationship on the brink of destruction. His pointed vocals are overlaid atop hopeful synths, as he croons from a more idealized perspective. He simply hopes that he means something to his partner; he simply wants to feel what we all ultimately desire: to be needed, to be somebody. We all just want to be somebody to somebody.
As the EP continues, it becomes increasingly apparent that what was once an exciting new relationship is slowly crumbling. This is further proved by “ALIENS,” featuring Transviolet, which elucidates a growing distance and dissonance between companions. From faking smiles to just wanting to be alone and unbothered, both Whitehall and Transviolet’s Sarah McTaggart seem noticeably over their situation. Rather than continue perpetuating the issues, they would much rather just be left to themselves.
People fuckin’ bore me
Just say that you don’t know me
Ya treat me like love sick alien
Feed me paranoia
And say that I’m below ya
Just leave me with the spaced out aliens
– “ALIENS,” The Griswolds
To close out the tumultuous narrative of the EP, “ARIEL ARIEL” truly drives home the masochistic toxicity that has ultimately transpired over the course of the record. From the double entendre “See you next Tuesday,” to just simply calling out the absolute craziness of it all, “ARIEL ARIEL” finds itself swimming in absolute chaos, but not necessarily minding it. As the song progresses, listeners are taken along on a journey that oscillates between hatred and admiration, as Whitehall owns up to the craziness while positing a potentially positive future, ending the song – and thus the EP – with, “Maybe we’ll get it right someday.”
ALL MY FRIENDS reminds listeners why we fell in love with The Griswolds in the first place; their knack for unique musical sensibilities coupled with their unique personalities truly create something wonderfully exciting to experience.
ALL MY FRIENDS brings out the best and worst parts of people and our relationships to them, slyly nudging listeners to consider their own positions within a companionship as well. The Griswolds have always kept it real, and this EP is certainly no exception. Throughout relationships of any kind, there will always be ups and downs to consider, but that’s exactly what makes life exciting. And hey, just maybe we will get it right someday.
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:: ALL MY FRIENDS EP ::