'The Sound of Young America'

Oct 1, 2008 at 12:00 am

George Bernard Shaw said it best: "Youth is such a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children." Yet we all know somebody who has given up on something they love because it's just not "practical." So they sell their guitar, hang up their dreams, get sucked into a joyless job and "grow up." But does growing up have to mean giving up? Does it mean losing your edge? Is it inevitable that at some point, you have to start expressing your "wild side" by wearing Dockers on Fridays and occasionally "living it up" with your co-workers over a few beers at Applebee's?

Friendly Foes say hell no! Using straight-to-the-point major chord goodness, catchy harmonies and Ryan Allen's if-it-could-be-bottled-and-sold-we-could-instantly-rejuvanate-Detroit's-economy relentless enthusiasm, Friendly Foes have hit on a seriously tasty recipe for an eternal good time. Their Born Radical debut disc is a full-strength power-pop ride through the balance of aging and staying young at heart. "Spent our days making mix tapes, now it's a mixed drink and off to bed," Allen laments on "Wild (Once In Awhile)." But in "Breakfast Burritos" he reminds us: "We'll get old our bones grow cold, we'll lose all our hair ... so let's drink now and run around with all our friends."

Despite the common themes of reflection and sentimentality, this isn't your older sister's gooey Posies/Smithereens brand of power pop. Friendly Foes make revved-up, ass-kicking power pop. Along with Allen's guitar and sometimes sneering, always charming vocals, bassist/vocalist Lizzie Wittman and drummer Brad Elliott not only hold everything together but they're an indispensible part of the chemistry. The three folks of Friendly Foes know life is going to happen, whether you like it or not, but if you have your shit together, there's no reason why you can't grow up and still be totally radical too.