Released: April 2015
Manchester four-piece Girl Friend couldn’t have picked a more apt title for their new EP. Arrive Alone, Leave Alone is all about excitement and anticipation tempered with longing and regret. Girl Friend undercut their glossy indie-disco sound with desperately lonely lyrics and the results are frequently electric.
Pairing sunny, danceable music with inward-looking lyrics has been done before of course (think The Killer’s Mr. Brightside, Robyn’s Dancing On My Own or Passion Pit’s entire discography) but it’s pulled off here with aplomb thanks to the band’s slick, infectiously up-tempo performances. Musically, Girl Friend resemble a somewhat more subdued Friendly Fires, with glistening synths, tropical guitars and bouncy bass buoying along hedonistic tales of bright lights, close encounters and empty romance.
Opening track Monte Carlo sets the tone with a new-wave ode to the decadent Monaco ward. You Lead The Way is a great follow up and probably the best track here thanks to its sultry synths and a gorgeous, sighing chorus. In fact, the material here is generally very strong indeed, the only real fault being a sense of creeping homogeny. Every track here is at worst merely pleasant but they all occupy a very similar formula with only closing track Stop slowing things down and changing up the mood somewhat.
It’ll be interesting to see if Girl Friend can maintain this level of polished songcraft over a full album without sounding too samey but based on this EP alone, there’s little reason to bet against them. Arrive Alone, Leave Alone is a really promising collection of songs with a bitter edge buried beneath the sweetness.