It’s been a good, long while since we last heard from Parisian “negativ folk” group My Friend Is – in fact, it was in 2014, when I’d been living in Paris myself (read the interview here). They just dropped a video for “Break Up Song Transmission,” directed by Anna Deutsch, and it manages to be both soulful and industrial in a really compelling way. Don’t wait to form a mental image with my words, though – take a look for yourself!
All of the production on My Friend Is’ newest EP PFR is done by Frensh Kyd, and it’s certainly a noticeable and welcome change-up in their sound; now more than ever, I feel compelled to claim that “folk” is a weird label for primarily-electronic music played in dark rooms with keyboards and electric guitars. This isn’t a criticism as much as it is me puzzling over genre description – the video for “Break Up Song Transmission” is filled with powerful lighting, trippy double-visual effects, and fade-ins of the group members tapping out beats on sequencers and shredding on guitar. Singer Fabien has gotten even more confident, it seems, talk-singing his way through some complicated feels (“tell me / you love me / spit all this shit that you want me to believe”) as synth pads and digital basslines soar above thud below his vocal part respectively. My favorite moment happens about halfway through the video, where a female-sounding vocal sample is played with and a distant-looking girl dances against a black backdrop. I’m more certain than ever before that My Friend Is know how to curate a vibe, how to milk out the best kinds of feels from a chord progression. It’s exciting to watch these guys grow.