Good Looking Friends - Wasted Now

Acrobat Unstable/Trash Casual

Brooklyn’s Good Looking Friends create expansive sonic worlds that conjure sci-fi parables and contemporary fables to defeat modern monsters. Armed with glistening melodies and breezy harmonies, they dispatch these demons with songs that challenge the absurdities of our time.

It’s been eleven years since the first Good Looking Friends outing, and while the galaxy of musicians swirling around songwriter Zach Fischer has, over time, settled into a constellation of three trusted collaborators and confidants, the band approached the recording of upcoming album Wasted Now (out Sept 15th via Acrobat Unstable) knowing that change was brewing. Relocating band members and shifting personal lives meant that there was an air of “one last dance” as the four-piece stepped through the door at Philadelphia’s Headroom Studios to begin ten days of tracking that would run across the 2021 Thanksgiving period.

The resulting record is a testament to a decade of lessons learned. It pulls off the rare mid-career trick of kicking bitterness and jaded frustration to the curb in favor of a joyful return to youthful enthusiasm. Fischer describes how the band members arrived at this record with a shared tacit agreement to “Do it right. Have fun. Make records how we always wanted to make records.” To this end, it was essential that engineer and producer Joe Reinhart be involved. Reinhart (who, beyond his recording accolades, made his name as a member of seminal emo troop Algernon Cadwallader, and since then has anchored guitar duties in Hop Along) produced the very first Good Looking Friends EP, Attic Lights, in 2011. His contribution, in Fischer’s words “lightened the mood and made the songs huge”.

Despite the buoyant intent to the recording, this is an album that wrestles with an underlying darkness and wasted potential. Many of the songs within the album carry the tangible anxiety Fischer was feeling “watching the world slip into facism and climate death”. In processing these emotions, he finds himself reaching for the towering stories of his childhood to help him make sense of the now. These disparate references pervade the lyrics, forming an internal constellation of guiding lights; from Tolkien, to Octavia Butler, Jewish ritual, and the slavic supernatural being Baba Yaga. Reinhart’s ability to dig out the joy within songs has a pivotal effect on the dynamic emotional energy that runs throughout Wasted Now. Even amongst these weighty lyrical themes and fixations, Fischer, alongside bandmates Shelley Washington (vocals/saxophone), Sean Nolan (bass) and Adam Rossi (drums), delivers an album that offers moments of euphoria and celebration in the face of despair.


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