Gentle Friendly are a duo from London, comprised of David Morris and Richard Manber, who have a penchant for circular melodies, tidal fuzz and rapid junked rhythms. With an austere setup of Casio keyboard, vocals and drums (sometimes electronic) the band push against the pop boundary, trapping their songs on record like a continuous sun-warped field recording.
2009 saw Gentle Friendly release their debut album ‘Ride Slow’ to critical acclaim – Uncut considered “No Age, Ponytail and Health as spiritual kin”, whilst Pitchfork even cited Clipse and Lil Wayne as influences on the band. Since then Gentle Friendly have remodelled and rebuilt their sound into a stronger beast at their home studio called Deep House, a house they share with other leftfield lo-fi artists, Echo Lake, Munch Munch and others, all of whom Gentle Friendly credit with helping to shape and influence their sound. The incredible EP ‘Rrrrrrr’, released by Upset The Rhythm was the first fruit to fall from the tree, with its seven tracks washing the band’s insistent prism punk alongside more tender, filmic textures.
For their most recent release, Gentle Friendly have developed and honed this sound, whilst still demonstrating their strong commitment to pushing their capabilities almost to breaking point. Lead song from their side ‘The Shake Up’ demonstrates this – its taut rhythms and syncopated bass hook pushing the song in a relentless manner as Morris occasionally struggles to fit the syllables of his lyrics into one line, whilst all the time demonstrating a remarkable pop sensibility. It is also clear from listening to this side that Gentle Friendly have achieved the rare feat of making a sound that is instantly recognizable as their own, forged from a rich tapestry of influences and a particular brand of ‘Future Englishness’. Evidence of the band’s continued search for inspiration in unusual areas is found on their side of the split with the integration of ‘Number Stations’, radio stations that just broadcast these repeating sequences, as David Morris explains. “You tune in and get a looped series of tones, or a phrase, or just a voice counting to ten over and over again, which is how they got the name.”