4ZZZ (BRISBANE COMMUNITY RADIO) - HANDSHAKE REVIEW
Apparently being young and free and living in Canberra isn’t all that amazing. Maybe it’s just something in the air - a subtle waft of politics, weed and indifference - all melding to form a cocktail that is definitely less than the sum of its parts. Emerging from the haze in 2009, Super Best Friends came out swinging with debut EP, Ready Aim Fire, 6 tracks that fused punk, garage and metal into an angsty mess. Though it clocked in at under 20 minutes it still felt a little long and a tad unfocused. Despite this, the EP was still pretty badass and definitely gave off glimmers of something bright to come.
That brings us to April 2011 when Super Happy Friends began recording this hot little item we’ve just received: the 5-track, year in the making, Handshakes EP. The young group have improved themselves in nearly every aspect - dropping the slightly bizarre hardcore-esque breakdowns and driving drum-rolls, opting instead for what can only be called a controlled chaos. For the first time it sounds like each element of every song is complimenting another instead of all the individual bits racing each other to the finish. It hasn’t screwed with the trio’s energy at all, they come off sounding like the lovechild of local party-rockers, DZ, Mansfield garage-rock saviours Violent Soho and, one of Australia’s most consistently badass and interesting groups of the last 5 or so years the mighty Eddy Current Supression Ring. The EP format suits Super Best Friends very nicely, they cram an absolute ear-full into this not-quite 15 minute affair.
The first half blasts you hard and fast, including first single, the incredibly catchy 2 minutes of Karma Karma. Then the 2nd half: another big blast, from standout (and also longest) track, The Bleachers, a little gem in which the lads rip apart the worst aspects of our hot, sticky country and all the backwards, racist rubbish that seems to go hand-in-hand with Aussie “pride”. Word to that little bro’s. Let’s hope Super Best Friends stay that way - very exciting stuff and definitely one to watch out for - even K. Rudd has acknowledged the group - and, as we all know the only thing Mr. Rudd ever got wrong was bieng tricked by a dang seductress harpy.
(Jay Edwards, 4ZZZ)
AAA BACKSTAGE - HANDSHAKE REVIEW
Super Best Friends are a trio of energetic, snotty young upstarts from Canberra who play catchy, high-tempo, pounding indie-punk tunes, and sound like they could be the soundtrack to possibly the best party ever.
Handshake, their second EP following on from 2009 release Ready Aim Fire, sees the boys from our nation’s capital continue in a similar vein but with added musicianship, better songs and improved production.
Adam Bridges’ punchy drumming underpins everything the band does, and when overlaid with Matt Roberts’ distorted bass makes for one tight rhythm section, allowing Johnny Barrington to go off the rails with vocals, guitar, and keyboards.
Opener and latest single ‘No Logo Is a Joke’ sees Barrington raging against corporate greed and consumer culture alongside crunching guitar breaks, before working himself up into a screaming frenzy just in time for the song to crank to a grinding halt.
Next up is ‘Karma Karma‘, the initial single from Handshake, and the first to feature keyboard in a way Fight Like Apes might enjoy, before rocking out in frenetic and unmistakable fashion to an almighty climax, finishing what is probably Handshake’s best song. Full of angst and snarling vocals, it’s a tune to get crowds pumping their fists in the air and throwing their plastic cups to the sky.
Third track ‘You Want It’ continues where ‘Karma Karma’ left off, with everything louder than everything else, a thundering bass line, shouted vocal harmonies of “You want it! Come get it!” and angry blasts of apocalyptic guitar.
Penultimate track ‘The Bleachers’ is slow by Super Best Friends standards, allowing Barrington to squeeze out some fuzzed-out synth sounds to compliment the hard-drinking, fast-living lyrics, before firing off a measured guitar solo mid-song. “We are the Bleachers, we fight on the beaches!” could be Super Best Friends’ call to arms, calling on their fans to party/riot/break stuff.
Closer ‘It’s an Evolution’ builds on a heavily-distorted bass riff and follows the by-now familiar pattern. Although some of the half-sung, half-shouted lyrics are lost in the mix, the threesome make their final track rock hard and fast, before slowing the tempo and slumping into an exhausted, spent heap of crashing cymbals and feedback.
Handshake sounds like it could bring the house down when played live; the barely-veiled restraint in the studio hints at some unseen force ready to explode onto the audience. With tracks on average around two minutes thirty, Super Best Friends sound like they could punch out tune after tune of rocking punk without even breaking a sweat. Catch them live before they get too big.
(Paul McBride - AAA Backstage)
PUSHTOFIRE.com (UK) 4/5 Karma Karma review - 06/12/11
Super Best Friends are a band that seem to be haunting me at the moment. Underground music scene mentions, playing at local venues - this is a band that I had already heard so much about, but have never actually heard play.
Thankfully, latest single ‘Karma Karma’ landed in my hands this week, and I finally discovered just what I was missing out on.
Clocking in at two minutes and thirteen seconds - the track is full of blistering noise and angst, snotty-nosed punk attitude, and an infectious melody to boot. The snarl of frontman Johnny Barrington’s vocals drum up images of the punk days of old, while the simple punk ‘three chord’ riff, drives that vibe home.
The inclusion of a slight electro beat is a little questionable at the start, but by the final bridge and subsequent chorus, it explodes into a frenzy of noise and mess that pounds through your speakers.
Undoubtedly, Super Best Friends are a band that have definitely caught my interest. If my attention were a person, this single would have grabbed it, shaved its head and pierced its ears with a safety pin.
I will definitely be watching out for these guys in the future. [4/5]
(Meghan Player, UK webzine PUSHTOFIRE.com)
Blunt Magazine, 4/5 star review - 02/11
“Ready Aim Fire!” by Super Best Friends (Initiate)
The muscular three-piece is a rare beast in the alternative rock landscape these days, what with all the twin-guitar attacking and superfluous keyboarding afoot. The three-pronged fury of Canberra troublemakers Super Best Friends most resembles that of black humoured Welsh threesome (recently turned awesome foursome) Future Of The Left. They too make use of a small crack team of musicians sticking to monster beats that would normally be deemed inappropriate, distorted bass and jagged guitar riffs to deliver their brand of outraged party rock. Backed by occasional divergences into nursery rhyme-flavoured metal, Ready Aim Fire! Provides variety, sly laughs and maximum headbangability.
(Ed Lamington - Blunt Magazine)
FasterLouder Live Review - 10/11/2011 Transit Bar, Canberra
Transit Bar, the place that many local music lovers call home. A venue so diverse you can have a casual beverage, a game of pool, or simply rock out (when the moment is right). [Thursday] night proved to be one of those appropriate moments. Super Best Friends put on an immaculate display on one of their final Canberra shows before they hit the recording studio in Melbourne. However, no good act comes without its supports! The night kicked off with Assassins 88 demonstrating an interesting combo of pop, punk and noise. While the venue was still fairly empty, the boys played as though it were a full house. Unfortunately, the vocals were slightly drowned out by the volume of the instruments. No time was wasted with a changeover and The Fighting League took to the stage. The boys got straight to the point and showed that they felt at home on the Transit stage. The audience’s attention remained on the vocalist who wasted no time in getting his shirt off and proceeding to rub his hands all over his body while he belted out the tunes. While controversial, it was extremely entertaining and got members of the crowd moving in hysterics. By the end of their set, The Fighting League pleaded with the sound team at Transit Bar for the chance to play one more song. When the band’s so into what they are doing, it’s hard not to join in! Regrettably, the request was dismissed and clothes were quickly donned at a glacial pace. Super Best Friends boasted a surprising stage setup with four instruments for only three people. Armed with tracks from their Ready Aim Fire EP, the trio was ready to rule the stage. Adam, Matt and Johnny delivered a killer set including Karma Karma, You Want It, Ready Aim Fire, The Monkey is the Man, and The Bleachers. When asked to describe their sound, Super Best Friends hit the nail on the head, describing it as “Punchy drums, crunchy guitars, distorted bass and keys.” Overall the indie punk group embodied all that was promised. Good performance energy, musical talent, and jeans that were just a little too tight. The set was cohesive, vocal harmonies were right on pitch and the use of the MIDI keyboard was supreme. As far as Thursday festivities go, Transit Bar has it down pat. It was great to see some punk-oriented bands on the Canberra scene! Between the performances by Assassins 88, The Fighting League and Super Best Friends there was never an opportunity for the evening to be dull.”
(SMASHLEY - )
BEAT MAGAZINE, MELBOURNE - READY AIM FIRE! (2009)
“This is a spiky, in-your-face debut from Canberra outfit Super Best Friends. As punk goes, it well and truly delivers, with frenetically-paced three minute gems backed with blistering drums and guitars… After listening to this sparkler a few times, you get the feeling that Super Best Friends would ‘go off’ live. With such a chaotic, immediate sound, how could they not? It’s quite a heavy sound with a strong focus on drumming, but Super Best Friends also utilise some rather unexpected techniques, which keep the music fresh and interesting… The standout track would be Red Stars and Dollar Signs, a scorching number with a great structure that chronicles political upheaval from the Russian Revolution to the Berlin Wall. Like most punk albums, this one benefits from repeated listening. But what’s not to like about these wee fellows, except that, of course, they’re from Canberra? But that’s all in a day’s work, or in this case, a night on the tiles. Give them a hug. And hope they don’t smash your face in.”
(Renee Tibbs - Beat Magazine)
Time Off, Brisbane - READY AIM FIRE! (2009)
“‘The Monkey Is The Man’ opens the CD by SBF, guaranteeing them a favourable review from this humble writer. They are a band from Canberra (yeah, I know!), who can’t decide whether they want to be a thoughtful, hard edged indie band or some kind of heavy punk thing, but I’ll let it slide, and not just because of the whole monkey thing. The spazzy synth on the title track earns them another brownie point, and the fact that they clearly don’t give a shit about fitting in with a scene earns them even more.”
(Chris Yates - Time Off)
Litres Of Ink Blog, Canberra - READY AIM FIRE! (2009)
”Join the firing squad, lock and load. The latest record from the Brah’s finest quirk punks, Super Best Friends, fuses fastballs of intense melody with reserved adventure. Bleeding guitar tones and locked-in rhythms create sinister undertones through tracks Ready Aim Fire!, The Idiots and the capitalist/commu