Album Review: Summer Flake – Hello Friends

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Ya blew it. You fucked it, you absolutely fucked it. Everything is crushing you, your eyes are popping out of your skull, cartoonishly bulging from their sockets like the final scene from Total Recall. You’re so sad that everything is a chore, all your usual responsibilities are unimportant, and all the stuff you should care about suddenly feels really far away and ridiculous. You stop going out, and then you stop going outside. All your hobbies turn to ash, and sink through your fingers, evolving from formerly enjoyable to terrifyingly lame. I used to do that shit? You spend day after day in bed, sheets sinking into your skin, only getting up to engage with your vices. Booze, drugs, binging on Big Macs. It doesn’t matter, you gorge yourself on that vice, pressing it deep into yourself until it becomes your identity.

For me, that vice was the music of Summer Flake. Haha, what a fucking cliche, do you also have a “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster in your room next to that bobblehead of Morrissey? Ah, fuck ya. In all seriousness though, I needed a partner, something that I could latch onto, and that came in the form of Hello Friends. Steph Crase says the kinds of things that are way too hard to actually say. There’s a bravery in her voice, an unwavering solidarity that goes hand in hand with a special, intimate kind of sorrow that’s not just comforting, but also strengthening.

Hello Friends carries a quiet poignancy; it never reaches beyond the toe-tapping patter of “Wine Won’t Wash Away”, but that restraint echoes with a boom, and when Crase unravels, well the walls come crashing down around your head. Take “Look How Far We’ve Come” – it takes its time to build, the pace almost unnoticeable, but when it reaches its crescendo, you better believe that you’ll be joining me on the floor, coiled up, sobbing. And not the pretty kind in the movies – this is the type with snot and hiccups involved.

But that’s just the one song, and this album isn’t really a singles factory. Take the single track, and there’s a bawling toddler sucking its thumb. But that’s only because you’ve taken in a fragment, a split second of incredible sadness. Of course you’ll be fucked up. Consume the whole record, and it becomes this beautiful soundtrack to meditate upon – this is why I fucked up etc. – all to the mesmerising sounds of someone who gets it, and can accentuate it far better and more beautifully than any twenty year old ginger.

When you’ve absolutely had it. When things are fucked. When you’ve blown it beyond all proportion in your mind, and nothing seems worth getting up for. This is the record I recommend you sit down with. The Smiths are for your parents, Summer Flake is for now. She’ll be the one that’ll raise you beyond this aching, anti-social demon that you’ve become. And if all of that’s not enough to convince you then how about this – Henry Rollins thinks she’s one of Australia’s best. If you think you’re better than Rollins, then you can get fucked.

Hello Friends comes out on Rice is Nice Records April 8th. Pre-order here.

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