A percussive prog-pop powerhouse: Friend Roulette’s “Earthrise” premiere

Friend Roulette

Friend Roulette: I'm Sorry You Hit Your HeadFriend Roulette: Iā€™m Sorry You Hit Your Head (Goodnight, 4/23/13)

“Earthrise”

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Borne from two months of recovery from being hit by a bus, Friend Roulette is the Brooklyn-based brainchild of guitarist/singer Matthew Meade (he of said accident) and violinist/vocalist Julia Tepper (she of moral support). Together, the two have assembled a stable of talent to create progressive, percussive, chamber-infused pop that’s charged with vocal interplay.

The longest track on the band’s debut LP, “Earthrise” is seven minutes of pop dynamics that lean on swanky woodwind harmonies (with a banjo cameo for good measure). John Stanesco is the track’s understated MVP, delivering grooves on the proggy EWI (electronic wind instrument) and a deep, winding bass clarinet, whose pulses call to mind experimental saxophonist Colin Stetson.

As for the concept:

“Earthrise is a song about an astronaut sitting on the moon in a plastic lawn chair,” the band says. “He sits there day after day, watching the earthrise above the moon and imagining what his wife on Earth might be doing. Little does he know that she is out dancing every night, cheating on him, and eventually gets too hammered, goes swimming, and drowns in a lake. All the while, the astronaut sits ignorantly happy on his lawn chair strapped to the moon.”

Catch the band’s cassette-single release for Gold Bricks (which includes “Earthrise” and is limited to 50 handmade copies) tomorrow at Union Pool in Brooklyn.