Album of the Week: Where we’ve been, Where we go from here

Friko – Where we’ve been, Where we go from here

By Kate Trebra | Top Tracks: Where We’ve Been, Get Numb To It!, Cardinal


Where we’ve been, Where we go from here; Friko

Chicago-based indie band Friko, composed of Nico Kapetan (guitar and vocals) and Bailey Minzenberger (drums), has returned with their debut album Where we’ve been, Where we go from here. The duo has been friends since high school, their sound evolving and growing right along with them. The result of that growth? An album filled with triumphs, highs and lows, and the reality of living in an increasingly hostile world. Where we’ve been takes a painfully turbulent human existence and makes it romantic, an ode to one’s growing pains.

Opening with “Where We’ve Been”, Friko creates a lush ballad filled to the brim with emotion. “I don’t know / Where we go from here” Kapetan sings, voice wavering with uncertainty over the easy rise and fall of his guitar. Growing up hurts, he says, it makes your teeth ache under the weight of responsibility. As the song comes to its peak and it seems that Kapetan has had enough, Friko halts. No longer are the crashing drums and mix of noise, but rather in their place is a whisper of a confession and a promise that everything will be alright.

“Chrimson to Chrome” and “Crashing Through” lament all the things that are yet to be done and yet to be said. Friko yearns for a break in a monotonous cycle, taking no time to tame the explosive melodies they’ve created by jumping into a fervent pitch. With their hearts on their sleeves and an earnest plea to be better, the band brings an introspective view into their inner thoughts. A thin layer of fuzz on the tracks dilutes the all-encompassing noise pop, always a degree away from the listener. The separation makes the listening experience all the more powerful, with mixing techniques making you seem as if you’re on the other side of their monologues.

Capable of creating a noise-rock song one second and a piano waltz the next, “For Ella’” slows things down. Serving as one of two piano-led songs on the album (along with “Until I’m With You Again”), Friko’s diversity in their sound lies in their ability to evoke emotion with the simplest of notes. The groan of a violin on “For Ella” manages to channel despair, the warbling synth at the beginning “Chemical” tugs at your heart strings.

As Kapetan struggles with being haunted by his own inaction, the album comes to a close with the orchestral “Cardinal”. Kapetan becomes plagued by his own doubts, calling himself out by name and asking, “Where’s your fight now?”. There’s a hope that better days lie ahead, but for now, Kapetan sighs and pulls the plug on the amp, its faint buzz concluding the song.

Where we’ve been, Where we go from here is a testament to the longevity of indie rock, able to captivate an audience with just a single track. Capturing the bittersweet moments, Where we’ve been is an incredible debut that feels like meeting an old friend you haven’t seen in years.

Be sure to tune in to what Friko has next and check out their show in D.C. on April 14th supporting WILLIS. Listen to Where we’ve been, Where we go from here anywhere you stream music!

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