On ‘Turtle Taxi’, Suggested Friends bracingly glare elites in the eye whilst making music that’s outrageously fun. Self-defined as “a queer choir of mostly lesbians”, Suggested Friends interweave tongue-in-cheek masculinity with their generous blend of country, jangle pop and folk-rock. It’s a collection of ten bombastic, hook-filled bangers; as if nobody in the studio ever said, ‘do you think we should tone that bit down a little?’ And it’s all the better for it!
With elongated backing vocals, titivating Springsteen-like riffs and even the use of a woodblock, it’s clear Suggested Friends have gone all-in musically. But somehow the words sang by singer/guitarist Faith Taylor bare even sharper teeth. “Just wake the fuck up / And admit that as the world burns / You’ll be practicing self-care”, she sings in a song about people happy to keep their curtains drawn and the mirror facing inward during this time of uttermost peril. The dread associated with the current news cycle is surmised brusquely on ‘G.N.A’, “Guardian news app, one more round of fear” she sings. While ‘Pretty Soon Your Grave Will Be A Landfill’ describes how us millennial ‘snowflakes’ actually don’t have it too good, “I’m funding your retirement with my tiny monthly wage / And you said you had a house and a car at my age”.
Tenderness and love for fellow human beings – possibly the only way we’re going to get out this – is here in spades though. The strong feelings the band have for one another are palpable on the title-track, particularly when their voices all join as one to sing “Yes you make me feel / Like I can rest” – the humour they share the only thing that can silence the planetary dread. Faith’s voice is melodically rich, sharing characteristics with Tracy Chapman, and from it an unmistakable empathy shines.
In ‘Turtle Taxi’, Suggested Friends have made an infectious records with lyrics an entire generation can identify with – a winning duo.