Friends or Fiends?

According to an I.R.S. press release, the original title for Friends was "Friends or Fiends." An interesting choice, though I suppose either title works just as well for me. As everyone may know, when Friends was released in the United States by I.R.S., they not only incorporated five songs from the Giants e.p., but they cut one song from the original U.K. release (not to mention an additional track from the CD, "A Funny Thing . . .)

The other track that was cut, "Waspy," stands alone by itself, and seems to contribute more to the album than "A Funny Thing . . .," which is comprable in style to the track "Lindy's Party."

Before I digress, here's what the Trouser Press Record Guide has this to say about Friends:

Keyboardist Paul Clark joined the Bolshoi in time for Friends, which takes more of a glossy guitar-and-synth dance path, colored by sporadic echoes of Big Country, a crisp drum sound and Tanner's alternately Antlike/Bonoesque overtones. While the American Friends CD incorporates the contents of Giants, the UK tape and CD merely add one bonus track ("A Funny Thing . . .").

Ira A. Robbins

Ignoring the error regarding the U.K. release v. the U.S., once again, I hardly agree with the tepid review. Though Friends may be a bit more dancey with the addition of Paul Clark, I think they were still a level below the more synth-dependent Lindy's Party. The keyboards served to add texture as much as they served to add a dance beat.

However, this lp did serve up the most Bolshoi material overall, over the spread of four singles (which are covered elsewhere in these pages). Amazingly enough, even "Sunday Morning," the longest track on the lp, was chosen as a single, instead of the more driving "Looking For a Life" or "Someone's Daughter." This lp also gave birth to the Bolshoi's biggest hit, "A Way," quite possibly one of the best tracks ever released in history... Well, at least in my opinion!

As an interesting side note, the U.K. cd refers to "A Way" as a single word, both on the inner sleeve and the cd itself... You would think the record company would know better, wouldn't you?


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