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The Fire Note review 'Best Friends Forever' by The 1984 Draft

The 1984 Draft 'Best Friends Forever' LP on Poptek/Sell The Heart/Engineer Records [2023]


"The Dayton music scene has no shortage of great bands, from heavy hitters like The Breeders and Guided by Voices to rising stars and personal favorites like M. Ross Perkins, The Gabbard Brothers, Heather Redman, and Speaking Suns. The 1984 Draft is another band you can add to that list. Their new album, Best Friends Forever, may only be their second long-player, but it sounds like the product of a band that has comfortably settled into their musical identity."


"The 1984 Draft wears many of their musical influences on their sleeve. Lead singer and songwriter Joe Anderl’s love of all things Bob Mould is readily apparent, and the band’s straightforward setup of two guitars, bass, and drums is simple but effective, alternately touching on power-pop, punk, and alternative rock, often at the same time. The similar arrangements mean that sometimes the tracks can blur together a bit, but the strong songwriting and earnest lyrics provide some variety in tone."

"Many of the songs touch on universal themes like family, faith, getting older, and a sense of youthful nostalgia. Songs like closer “Ever Ready” tackle these topics from a personal point of view, reflecting on life and love in unambiguous terms. Others like “Big Star” (named for the legendary Memphis band) take a more oblique but still relatable approach, which tends to work in their favor since listeners can more easily attach their own meanings and interpretations. In keeping with the focus on friends and family, the band brings in musical collaborators on several tracks, including guitarists Sean Gardner (Winter Makes Sailors) and Todd Farrell (Benchmarks)—who lays down a great solo on “Hold Steady,”—along with vocalists Cherry Fullam and Susie Ulrey (Pohgoh). These guest spots add some variety and push the band to deliver some of their best performances on the album."


"Best Friends Forever is a deeply personal record, but one that frames its introspection in an accessible way (especially if you grew up in the Midwest listening to 90s alt rock). It’s not a record that’s going to throw many surprises your way, but it does what it sets out to do extremely well. If catchy guitar-driven songs are your thing, The 1984 Draft has eleven new ones waiting for your turntable or playlist."


KEY TRACKS “Big Star” / “Hold Steady” / “Ever Ready”


ARTISTS WITH SIMILAR FIRE Bob Mould / Jimmy Eat World / Subways On The Sun


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