San Francisco Bay Area indie-pop ensemble The Umbrellas unveils their second album, Fairweather Friend, hot on the heels of its self-titled debut in 2021.
Comprising Matt Ferrera (vocals, guitar), Nick Oka (bass), Keith Frerichs (drums), and the fortuitously discovered Morgan Stanley, whom Oka stumbled upon singing karaoke at a party, The Umbrellas found their roots in 2018. Oka notes, "All of us love earnest pop songs. I guess we got to a point where we wanted to be genuine."
While their debut album showcased the band's pristine innocence, Fairweather Friend is a testament to The Umbrellas' emotional and musical evolution. Encompassing ten tracks, the album starts with the jangly-laced tune "Three Cheers," riding a light, driving rhythm enriched by the moody ebullience of Ferrera and Stanley's antiphonal vocals.
Highlights abound, with "Goodbye" featuring Stanley's charming tones and lustrous harmonies. The shimmering refrain provides a delightful shift, allowing Stanley to showcase the delicate silkiness of her expansive voice, shaded by enchanting, wistful tendrils.
The track "Echoes" evokes hints of The Cranberries intertwined with echoes of Kate Bush, with a rolling bassline and finessed percussion enhancing the dreamy rhythm, while glittering guitars provide iridescent accents.
"Games," infused with '60s Motown resonance, exudes flavours of surf-pop reminiscent of Annette Funicello. A personal favourite, "Gone," hums with elements of shoegaze and jangly indie-pop, creating a tune dripping with mesmerizing vitality. The band shares, "'Gone' talks about feeling stuck on trivial matters and chasing escapism to cope, even though you might not know what you're looking for/what will help you yet."
The standout "When You Find Out" captivates with its breezy, jangly, and glossy vibes, possibly earning the title of the album's best track. Stanley's shiny and chrome voice adds vibrant, coruscating colours to this opulent gem of an album, polished to a high sheen.
Fairweather Friend showcases The Umbrellas at their best, reflecting growth, sophistication, and a captivating musical journey. Ooh la la!