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Pity São Paulo band Firefriend, who’ve been at it for over a decade and whose waves of superlative psych-gaze are only now reaching Europe’s judgemental shores. Yellow Spider is the prolific three-piece’s second LP in just over a year, however, and as usual it’s full to overflowing with fuzz, textural to the point of being tactile. Lashings of tremulous reverb once more throw up mirages so real you just want to dive right into these oases, but these are both fertile and dark conjurings. Consequently, Firefriend continue to take as much from Sonic Youth as they do traditional psych-rock, experimental ambience rubbing shoulders with the woozy guitars of shoegaze at times too. The result, as regular listeners will already know, translates their trademark stoned slow-burn into something quite special, the varied directions it leads them to incorporating spacey psych motifs and harder-edged head-nodding as well.

Alternating also between Yury Hermuche’s straining lost-down-a-well snarl and Julia Grassetti’s soothing coo, Yellow Spider is truly difficult to predict from one moment to the next. Take the smouldering “Juxtaposed Parallax”, for example, the gently persuasive mumblings in which recall The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Velvet Underground’s most heavy-lidded moments. Who’d have guessed that just a few seconds later, on the fuzzed-out title-track, that we’d be talking about the atmospheric New York-school of cool guitars, Grassetti’s dangerous vocal particularly alluring in such surroundings. Not to be outdone, Hermuche embraces a partially doomed tone to narrate the epic closer “Shutdown Your Electronic Hallucinations” in drawling prose, the track’s mid-fi fug spooling out majestically as it sees fit, tightening when cornered, and – just for a minute – Yellow Spider’s outsider cool coalesces to the point where you begin to feel like an insider.

Best track: “Yellow Spider”

NOV 2018

The ever prolific São Paulo-based trio of ‘Firefriend’ continue to plough a deep sonic furrow in todays modern psych firmament. With a plethora of releases since 2009 it comes as no surprise at all to us that these guys show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Their latest release entitled ‘Yellow Spider’ oozes the same sonic brilliance witnessed on this years previously released (April 2018) long player ‘Sulfur’, diving headlong into slow burning psych melded with hazy passages of shoegaze, but there are also subtle signs of a more noisier, up-tempo approach creeping in to the bands sonic arsenal that is very refreshing. The band are made up of Julia Grassetti – bass/vox/keyboards, C.Amaral – drums/synth/harmonica & Yury Hermuche – guitar /vox. Not officially unleashed until the 2nd of November 2018, ‘Yellow Spider’ is the second full length album from ‘Firefriend’ to be jointly released by both the UK-based Cardinal Fuzz Records & Portland-based Little Cloud Records this year so depending on your current location you can get your muggy paws on a copy from either or respectively.

Swirling instrumental drones, rattling percussion and an immense bass line collectively announces the arrival of track one ‘Surface To Air’. There’s a magnificent atmospheric pull to this track, a slow burning slice of modern psychgaze centred around a whirring drone that holds everything together thus allowing those howling vocalisations to float in a sea of reverb intertwined at times by the growl of guitar. ‘Surface To Air’ is a mesmerizing lysergic dipped sonic melee and a wonderful opening salvo. Up next, ‘Burning A Haunted House’ swerves into audible range strapped to a slow-moving wall of percussion and a massive wave of sonic energy. Menacing lines of vocal meander and creep through fuzzy layers of hypnotic drones as screaming clouds of feedback pepper the track to within an inch of its life. There’s a hypnotic melody here, a kind of lingering sonic addictiveness that is very hard to shake off making it one of the standout tracks on this entire release.

‘Ultra Violet Thing’ groans into existence on a woozy wave of angry guitar as bouncing lines of bass and tumbling drones merge into one almighty sonic barrage. Somewhere in the mix there is room for a distant vocal in amongst all of that electronic wizardry and those deep-rooted psychedelic incantations. And listen out for that immense finale; it’ll completely floor you. ‘Juxtaposed Parallax’ & ‘Yellow Spider’ are reminiscent of early Sonic Youth with jangling guitars, busy percussion and the luscious addictiveness of the vocal with the latter upping the tempo a little bit more, injecting a layer of stinging fuzz into the mix to accompany those long passages of turbulent noise whilst ‘The Third Wave’, the albums penultimate piece, dives headlong into a pool of hallucinogenic reverberation pulling with it slow-moving percussion and haunting vocalisations (reminiscent of the fantastic Velvet Underground & Nico) before splashing into the fizzing feedback-laden melting pot.

‘Yellow Spider’ closes out with a seven minute long psychedelic trip. ‘Shutdown Your Electronic Hallucinations’ opens with some fanciful guitar steeped in wide scoped reverberation, used primarily to lull the listener into a false sense of security before unleashing a repetitive guitar progression, metronomic rhythms and some undulating swells of instrumentation all circumnavigating a stunning vocal line topped with a haunting vocalised accompaniment. Yes ….. I have just used a heap of superlatives to explain what this track sounds like; but it is that bloody good. It’s a superb ending to what is a marvellous album.

OCT 2018

“Colpaccio della Little Cloud Records di Portland, Oregon che si aggiudica (diciamo così) la pubblicazione di questo LP dei Firefriend, band di San Paolo, Brasile e definita nelle stesse note di accompagnamento al disco come “una delle città più grandi, sporche e violente del mondo”. Diciamo che più o meno è la stessa definizione che darei alla città dove sono nato e dove sono cresciuto e dove vivo attualmente e chi lo sa se non sia anche questa cosa che mi avvicini in qualche modo ai contenuti della musica e dei testi della band composta da Yury Hermuche, Julia Grassetti e il batterista C. Amaral e che di conseguenza mi abbia portato ad amare incodizionatamente questo disco.

Autoproclamatisi una vera e propria “bestia a tre teste” il loro disco, “Sulfur”, è uscito il 6 aprile ed è sicuramente per quanto mi riguarda una delle novità nel genere neo-psichedelico più convincenti e anche tra quelle più accattivanti e che potrebbero richiamare una certa attenzione. I contenuti concettuali del disco sono calati dentro la realtà quotidiana che li circonda, una dimensione difficile e rappresentata in bilico tra sfumature noir e letteratura hard-boiled e che appare essere come densa e assorbire allo stesso tempo tutto quello che ci sta dentro. Una realtà oscena e dalla quale questa musica garage psichedelico (“Afterhours”) si dipinge inevitabilmente di trame oscure e ricche di sfumature (“Cosmic Background Radiation”) oppure taglianti come lame di un rasoio (“Solipsism”…), prima di calare in maniera ipnotica l’ascoltatore in uno stato estatico tra quadri drone tridimensionali (“Pacific Trash Vortex”), yelling noise di derivazione Yoko Ono (“Sulfur”) e onde sonore Spacemen 3 (“Cosmic Background Radiation”), allentando così quella tensione e quello stato di violenza richiamato, mutandolo in uno stato di opposizione e allo stesso tempo acquiescenza, autoconsapevolezza e perdita del controllo: una esperienza amniotica di orgasmo collettivo universale (vedasi la copertina del disco) che è alla fine la più grande rivoluzione possibile”
APRIL 2018

São Paolo’s Firefriend are back with a new LP, Sulfur, set for release on Portland based label Little Cloud Records on 6th April 2018. Previous EP, The Black Hole was a three song 21-minute offering which thrust the band back into popular consciousness. Firefriend don’t rush to the pop hook or stall itself in the crunchy riffs, it glides above everything else in its own orbit, echoing the best parts of psychedelic, shoegaze, and noise by taking it all into strange new fields of bliss.

The seven-track offering opens with ‘Afterhours’ with its distorted guitar giving way into fuzz laden riffs and disjointed drum rhythms with hints at primal rock influences coming up for air every now and again. This gives way to ‘Pacific Trash Vortex’, which takes its predecessors experimental elements and pushes them further, creating intoxicating mixtures of sounds that probably shouldn’t go together, yet somehow, they do and Firefriend make it work to their advantage. Title track ‘Sulfur’ channels space rock vibes with its heady mixture of dystopian electronic noise, ethereal vocals and warped guitars It builds in oscillating layers that grab attention with ever rotation.

‘Hello from the Children of Planet Earth’ introduces itself conveniently enough and then wastes no time in packing a punch, with its shoegaze influences gleaming through from the offset yet moves progressively into more psychedelic vibes as it continues, with lashings of reverb and delay. ‘Cosmic Background Radition’ takes its time developing its own sound, almost teasingly, but when its gets there, its worth it. Some may give up on it before it does, I urge you not too. ‘Solipsism’ is unaltered psychedelia, with a krautrock backdrop, the vocals are mesmerising and the way they play against the music is really quite something to behold. Concluding ‘Vintage Puzzle’ seamlessly blends sound bites, shoegaze hazy vocals, futuristic electronic noise and catchy guitar riffs. The puzzle here is unpacking the sounds and processing them.

Despite this being their ninth release, Firefriend remain relatively unknown, something tells me that Sulfur, with its provocative cover art is set to change that.
APRIL 2018

Grenzen waren Firefriend schon immer egal. So auch auf dem neuen Album, das Noise, Psych und Space Rock gleichermaßen behandelt.

Seit dem ersten Release von Firefriend sind auch schon wieder zwölf Jahre vergangenen. Seitdem gab es stolze acht Veröffentlichungen, die insgesamt mit Psych überschrieben werden können, aber doch unterschiedlich klingen. Gerne liefern sie straight ab, ergötzen sich aber auch an Experimenten, wie etwa zuletzt auf der „Black Hole“-EP.

Nun liegt der neunte Release vor. „Sulfur“ erscheint über Little Cloud Records und zeigt die Band aus São Paulo von verschiedenen Seiten. Firefriend sind hier sehr spacig unterwegs, driften ab, schrecken aber auch nicht vor unangenehmen Geräuschansammlungen zurück.

Straighte Rock-Parts werden durch Jams unterbrochen. Gerne lassen sich die Brasilianer Zeit, bis ein Track zur Entfaltung kommt. Eine Platte, die stets im Fluss ist. Und vermutlich ihre bisher stärkste Platte, denn alles funktioniert.

„Afterhours“ bietet als Einstieg noch herkömmlichen und sehr fetten Psych Rock mit ordentlich Reverb. Hier erinnern sie stellenweise etwas an die Wooden Shjips, wenn auch das Repetitive fehlt. Dann wird die Stimmung düsterer, der Sound unbequemer. „Pacific Trash Vortex“ und der Titeltrack schieben sich unangenehm hinein, fiepsen, wollen aufwühlen.

Ab „Hello From The Children Of Planet Earth“ verschwindet das bedrückende Gefühl und wir biegen in Richtung driftenden Space Rock ab. „Cosmic Background Radiation“ und „Solipsism“ sind ruhig und jammig, das abschließende „Vintage Puzzle“ ist experimenteller, bleibt aber harmlos.

Fazit: Sehr atmosphärische und aufregende Platte.
APRIL 2018

Questo trio psych di San Paolo, Brasile capitanato dalla vocalist e bassista Julia Grassetti (completano la formazione Carlos Amaral e Yuri Hermuche) ha il blues che gli brucia dentro l’anima. I Firefriend sono una formazione in giro già da una decina di anni e che ultimamente ha cominciato a attirare attenzioni anche oltre i confini nazionali, confermando peraltro l’ottimo momento per la musica psichedelica per quello che riguarda il Sud America. Ingaggiati dalla Little Cloud Records (che pubblicherà anche il loro prossimo LP “Sulfur”) il trio ha pubblicato lo scorso 28 gennaio questo EP intitolato “The Black Hole” che nonostante la brevità penso possa meritatamente essere definito come una vera e propria bomba. Il sound della band è una psichedelia drone infettata di quel sound noise derivato da esperienze come quella dei Sonic Youth o dei Blonde Redhead più sperimentali e riverberi ereditati dallal lunga tradizione dei 13th Floor Elevators. Su tutto però si erge imperiosa la voce e la espressività di Julia, una vocalist (che ricorda un po’ Tess Parks, la protetta di Anton Newcombe) che si potrebbe definire una versione al femminile di Jim Morrison e praticamente dedita a pratiche di ipnotismo che peraltro riescono perfettamente. Boh, che dire, sinceramente aspetto l’uscita del disco con grandi aspettative.
— Emiliano D’Aniello, ITALIA
JAN 2018

There was a thread in American music in the late 1960s that someone untangled across the U.S., then stretched over to Europe, where it took root in 80s shoegaze. It ties together bands as disparate as the 13th Floor Elevators, the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Mazzy Star, Blonde Redhead, and the Jesus & Mary Chain. It’s noise rock or math punk or psychedelic or shoegaze or doom: It’s the down-tuned sound of chaos and beauty, and while no one was looking, it also worked its way through the Americas and took root in Brazil under the name Firefriend.

The Black Hole (Little Cloud Records, 2017) - a tight three-song EP that clocks in at 21 minutes - is the eighth release from the Sao Paulo trio. This is music to play in the dark, a sonic soundscape made for dreaming beside the campfire or - as the title track demands - it’s music for turning up and driving through the desert night with, full-tilt and fully immersed. The bass grooves move you along; the drums tell your heart to beat; the guitar-work needles its way into your subconscious and pulls forth demons; and the vocals ease you back to sleep. Firefriend pulled that thread from the 60s and created something that feels like a bit of everything that thread ever touched. Their sound doesn’t rush to the pop hook or stall itself in the crunchy riffs, it glides above everything else in its own orbit, echoing the best parts of psychedelic, shoegaze, and noise by taking it all into strange new fields of bliss. And with a vinyl release from Portland’s Little Cloud Records, it can be heard as God intended at epic 45 rpm. Do yourself a favor: Turn the music on, the lights off, and let yourself go.
Jack Beltane, United States
MAY 2017

Firefriend suddenly got a lot less friend and a lot more fire. This is a sweeping, expansive, peyote trip down death valley. A sonic boom of an album that registers in the depths of the subconscious. “Death’n’Sound” finds this versatile Brazilian quartet at their most free, most dark, most sensual and most deadly.
Simon SixSmith, Netherlands
DEC 2013

... è piuttosto un meraviglioso caleidoscopio di influenze. I Firefriend non si fanno problemi a mescolare rock, jazz, percussioni latinoamericane, chitarre slabbrate ed effetti psichedelici. E il risultato è un disco insperatamente valido, che consegna i Firefriend alle mensole più alte e intoccabili della nostra discografia personale..
Linkiesta, Italia

O Firefriend investe pesado na dissonância, ruídos e experimentações, trazendo em seu mais novo rebento uma fusão estarrecedora e com poucos precedentes qualitativos em parâmetros nacionais e de genêro, encontrando nas raízes do shoegaze, free-jazz e psychedelic- rock a força motriz e direcionamento para a exploração hipnótica, brilhante e ousada presentes em Witch Tales
Al Schenkel, BRASIL