Album Review: Fickle Friends - 'Are We Gonna Be Alright?

A long four years since the release of their debut album 'You Were Someone Else', with some unconvincing EPs in the bridge between, Fickle Friends have returned with their sophomore effort 'Are We Gonna Be Alright?'. The Mic's features editor Gemma Cockrell offers her thoughts.


Originally, Fickle Friends’ sophomore album was rumoured to be a compilation of their Weird Years EPs that they released in 2021, but evidently they decided to abandon this idea entirely and record predominantly new material for Are We Gonna Be Alright?. The only tracks from Weird Years that appear here are IRL and Won’t Hurt Myself. Fickle Friends cut the filler and only including the two best tracks from a series of EPs that were ultimately a mixed bag.


"It is still undeniably Fickle Friends, but with a welcome twist."

The guitar riffs of the opening track Love You To Death are a bold statement that prove that the band are not afraid to put a heavier spin on the effervescent and bubbly pop sound that they have become known for over the years. Many of the other tracks that follow, particularly Write Me A Song and Yeah Yeah Yeah, continue with this intent. It is still undeniably Fickle Friends, but with a welcome twist.



Desire for escapism is a notion that has defined the pandemic era, and as a listener you get the impression from the underlying tone of the album that Fickle Friends are using these huge, upbeat dance-worthy tracks to push reality aside and mask something much darker underneath – as the track Glow affirms, “Need a distraction? Go to a party”. The album’s tracklist is relentless, shifting from one hook to another without showing any signs of slowing down.


"...a cohesive and punchy sophomore album without any filler in sight..."

The question that they are trying to mask throughout the album is, of course, the album’s title itself. Are We Gonna Be Alright? is a question that everyone has yearned to make sense of throughout the pandemic, with the calamitous nature of the world around us sometimes making the answer feel uncertain. It is only towards the end of the album that the vulnerability that lies behind leaks through, with a soft and atmospheric ballad that brings the listener back to reality and explains all.



When I was under the impression that their sophomore album would be made up of the tracks from their Weird Years EPs, I wasn’t expecting too much since I had already heard those tracks and concluded that there were an equal number of hits and misses throughout. However, I’m relieved that the band regrouped, rethought, and produced a cohesive and punchy sophomore album without any filler in sight, that easily reaches the potential shown on their debut You Are Someone Else.


Gemma Cockrell

 

Edited by: Elliot Fox

In article images courtesy of Fickle Friends via Facebook. Video courtesy of Fickle friends via Facebook.