The first new record in six years deserves a party. And who rocks the party that rocks the body better than Brooklyn's Les Savy Fav? To celebrate last week's way-too-late release of Let's Stay Friends on French Kiss Records, LSF knocked off two sold-out nights in NYC, one in Williamsburg, the other at Bowery Ballroom.
CH was lucky enough to survey the damage at the Bowery show, which broke open with the muscular "Equestrian," the first song off of Let's Stay Friends. By the second or third song, LSF frontman Tim Harrington was already pulling an "Even Flow" and hanging upside down from the balcony. The set was largely pulled from the new album, and songs like "Slugs In The Shrubs" and "The Year Before The Year 2000" benefited from the taut energy of the crowd and the acrobatic delivery of the band. Another highlight was "Rage In The Plague Age," a track leaked last year and as such was met with an enthusiastic sing-a-long from the first note.
I really wanted to avoid mentioning Harrington's stage antics—as integral as they are to the performance, I think that lots of people miss how outstanding the music is by concentrating on wardrobe changes, hilarious repartee, and ball sac karaoke. But when said antics include an encore opened with an a cappella lounge rendition of "Bullet" by the Misfits and closed with Harrington laying down on the floor of the Bowery and enticing the entire crowd to do the same before exploding into the room-filling chant to end "Who Rocks the Party?," I'd be remiss if I left out those sweet gems.
The album itself, if a bit less intense than the full-frontal LSF live experience, is no less satisfying. A surprising return to the aggressiveness first captured on early favorites, like "Our Coastal Hymn," is mellowed by lots of melodic atmospherics, recalling early P.I.L. The songs are still the totally danceable, chant-able post punk you've come to expect, but are perhaps more well-honed than past efforts.
LSF has one last NYC engagement, opening for fellow Brooklynites LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire on Randall's Island before heading out on tour. I know you won't sleep on seeing them when they hit your hood, but be sure to cop their new jams first so you can sing along the whole time. Available now from Amazon.