Fun with friends
People all need a friend, and in a time where everything feels temporary, it’s nice to know some friendships still hold up like the one between Frank Turner and Jon Snodgrass. It’s been almost 10 years since the release of their record Buddies, so they shared their new album with the audience Buddies II: Still Buddies. Both records share similarities; for example, the buddies wrote all their songs in just one day for both records. Even the album cover is a lovely homage to the previous part of the Buddies series.The entire album feels like listening to a jam session between two friends, which is kind of the goal here. The songs are short, and the little bits of conversation give these intermate vibes, they welcome the audience to join in at the fun, and the audience can accept this invitation with enthusiasm.
The album starts with the song “Still Buddies,” which undoubtedly is the updated version of their song “Buddies” from their Buddies record. All the famous names of the first version get their life updated. To compare them, “Buddies” line “Jim Ward is from Texas/ El Paso’s most famous son” is now, “Jim Ward is still from Texas still/ El Paso’s best restauranteur.” It’s a nice little note, it will also lead to people listening to both albums.
After the song ends, the two are chatting about writing an entire album in one day again. But they also admit last time around it wasn’t 100 percent accurate, leading to their song “Retractions,” another fun and self-aware song. It’s not easy to write an entire album in a day, so it’s easy to say the fans will forgive some little mistakes here and there. Being self-aware and fun is pretty much the common element of all the songs on the album. They talk over each other during their songs or write a song about their drummer Stephen (“Stephen Plays the Drums”).
On another note, no album would be complete without a piano song. This time is the very “historical” song, “Macbeth.” The song is a very personal story of the experience of reading Macbeth in school. Directly following is “Bad Times Good Vibes,” a song that Rolling Stones labeled as “lockdown anthem.” The song explores the strange times of lockdown and all the good intentions and the laziness that hold people back.
“The Age of a Dog” speaks to all the dog lovers who can also just guess the age of their dog. With “The Fleas,” Turner and Snodgrass channel the general 2020 vibes, “I never thought the apocalypse would be boring,” Turner sings in a rather slow and serious song. “Hold Me Homie” is about hugging, and features what may be the worst/best instrument ever, the kazoo. The album ends with “The Earth is Flat,” featuring the lovely kazoo again, and loaded with sarcasm, the song is centered around conspiracies.
Buddies II: Still Buddies is a fun distraction from daily life, and the joy of Turner and Snodgrass is infectious. The album is filled with their humor and their personality. Fans can only hope the duo will actually release ‘Buddies III: Buddies at Sea’ in 2030, as they joked about.