A self-professed and joyously self-aware soundtrack to the quarter-life crisis, the second installment of Fickle Friends’ Weird Years saga is a shimmering, indie-bop must-hear. Though its predecessor waned in depth and consistency, Gemma Cockrell dances her way through a review of the outfit’s latest offering – get at it below.
Continuing from January’s Weird Years (Season 1), Fickle Friends have released the next installment in their Weird Years saga, unsurprisingly titled Weird Years (Season 2). At some point in the future, this series of EPs will be collated to form the Brighton band’s sophomore record. The core theme of the EP is lead vocalist Natti Shiner’s experience of the change-filled transitional period of Saturn Return, an astrological event that is thought to induce a quarter-life crisis during your late 20’s.
It’s seen as the time of growing into adulthood, a unique topic that is rarely tackled within indie-pop; a genre typically dominated by tracks about being young and carefree. The first single and opening track of the EP Not in the Mood tells the tale of knowing that you are not the first priority of someone that you care about. However, in true Fickle Friends fashion, the outfit manage to turn these deep emotions into positivity through feel-good anthems that you can’t help but dance to. The track shows Fickle Friends doing exactly what they do best, as Shiner boldly takes back the power in a relationship where she is being treated badly.
‘On Weird Years (Season 2), Fickle Friends speak on a period of turbulence and uncertainty with reflective positivity.’
On the other foot, Turns Me Bad is a rare moment of youth and rebellion on the EP, dedicated to an exciting flourishing new relationship. The chorus features Shiner’s shimmering isolated vocals before groovy electric guitars are added to the mix to soundtrack the memorable repetition of “There’s something about you.” The male backing vocals in the chorus, courtesy of featuring artist Nightly, make Shiner’s confessions of desire feel as if they are being directly reciprocated by her lover.
On Cosmic Coming of Age, the concept of Saturn Return transcends its role as an underlying theme. Instead, it comes to the forefront of the track, and it is discussed more blatantly and obviously than before. However, on this track, Fickle Friends speak of a period of turbulence and uncertainty with reflective positivity. By describing it as a “coming of age,” it seems that Shiner has come out of the other side of Saturn Return, and she is able to reflect on her growth positively.
Closing track Won’t Hurt Myself sees Shiner take back her power in a song that sounds vulnerable at first before subverting and exploding into a bold and commanding declaration of “I won’t hurt myself the way you want me to.” This track, along with the rest of the EP, sees Shiner really come into her own as a musician and frontwoman. She seems more assertive and confident than ever before, and this reflects in the outfit’s most cohesive work to date.
Overall, this EP is a stronger effort than Weird Years (Season 1), with each track equally as catchy as the next. On the first installment of the series back in January, some of the tracks missed the mark slightly and left more to be desired, but on Weird Years (Season 2) Fickle Friends don’t miss a beat. Shiner delves deep into her personal experiences to produce an EP that perfectly captures her emergence from the chaotic turbulence and uncertainty of Saturn Return. Treat yourself to a spin.
Written by: Gemma Cockrell
Edited by: Olivia Stock