Let's Stay Friends 

Les Savy Fav (Frenchkiss)

Les Savy Fav have allayed fan fears of a break-up with Let's Stay Friends, their first album of original material in six years. "Let's tear this whole place down and build it up again," Tim Harrington sings on opener "Pats & Pans." "This band's a beating heart and nowhere near its end." Following that, the songs hide adult sentiments about disappointment and frustration within the band's signature pop melodies, shout-along choruses, and indie-punk guitar noise. As the album proceeds, the band makes its ambitions clearer with guest vocalists, varied song structures, a larger sound, and self-aware lyrics that recall Propeller-era Guided by Voices. In so eloquently examining the trials of playing in a cult band, Let's Stay Friends suggests that Les Savy Fav should have long ago transcended cult status. ("Patty Lee," "What Would Wolves Do?") — SD

Grade: A-

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