Suggested Friends are an indie rock quartet with a firm grounding in queer identity, fusing DIY punk roots with the interweaving guitars of 90s indie and a sometimes tongue-in-cheek take on the performative masculinity of 80s rock. There’s a tenderness to their songwriting, with lyrics reflecting on cultural malaise, trauma recovery and the banal absurdity of everyday life. Personal politics can come with an incisively dry sense of humour too.
Turtle Taxi is their second album and demonstrates just how far they’ve come from the raw, scuzzy sounds of their DIY debut; unrepentant in letting the pop hooks loose. The choruses are big, harmonies frequent, and guitar solos abound - this is a lush, textured leap forward.
Suggested Friends are more confident, acknowledging emotional pain and exploring how this affective space elides with a more expansive sense of injustice in the world.
On Pretty Soon Your Grave Will Be A Landfill the earnestness and absurdity of gaslighting politicians is laid bare, through to the futility of naming social ills and not acting on them on At Ease. The album’s title track, Turtle Taxi, talks about the relationship between love as a labour and the focusing in on life as an opportunity for that to flourish in all directions – (‘teach ‘til I die, let this all pass by…’).
The quieter numbers on the record, such as At Ease or Blooms, recall folkier inspiration such as The Weather Station and Hiss Golden Messenger, through to the alt-pop oddness of Nilufer Yanya and Blood Orange. But for parallels as a socially conscious, high-energy and vulnerable punk pop band, think Martha or Charly Bliss - though they’d argue for that perfect sweet spot between Weezer and Abba!
Recorded in rural Norfolk over two separate sessions a year apart, album was able to flourish into a more collaborative effort, incorporating Faith’s wife Meghan on percussion and Sickroom Studio's Owen on trumpet - plus plenty of time to experiment with overdubs and piano flourishes to up that classic-rock vibe that simmers just under the surface.
Suggested Friends formed in late 2015 following a chance meeting at a gig between Christabel (drums) and Faith (guitar and vocals). They were soon joined by Jack on guitar, who had met Faith through an activist group in London. Mammoth Penguins’ Emma Kupa is the most recent addition on bass, having worked with Faith on a number of projects over the past four years.
“There are some beautiful guitar licks here that you wish were longer and make you press replay. More folk-pop than punk-rock, this album deals with love, loss, death and landfill. Turtle Taxi has personality and humour and I was hooked from the very first track” Buzz [5/5]
“Suggested Friends have a delivered a melodic album that includes more flavours than upmarket ice cream parlour, DIY punk, emo, country, twee-pop, indie rock, folk and even posturing 80’s rock are all present in a sound that is underpinned by a firm grounding in queer identity and political awareness.” The Punk Site
“Suggested Friends interweave tongue-in-cheek masculinity with their generous blend of country, jangle pop and folk-rock. It’s a collection of ten bombastic, hook-filled bangers… Suggested Friends have made an infectious records with lyrics an entire generation can identify with – a winning duo.” Balloon Machine
“I genuinely can't tell if Suggested Friends are more likely to have listened to classic AOR like Fleetwood Mac or Boston or whatever you hear on mainstream daytime radio, than they are to have listened to DIY contemporaries Personal Best and Muncie Girls and Sheer Mag. But Turtle Taxi's songs share a common ground with all of these artists in sounding like they were written for car journeys and drunken parties and romantic recriminations.” Did Not Chart
“It's laden with quality songs from the opening pairing of the wistful “Imminent” and the nostalgic imagery of “Cygnets” which are both excellent slices of power pop through to the closing pairing of the resilient “For Jokes” and the slower but no less powerful “Magnolia”. Likely to be listening to this one a lot this year.” Collective Zine
“Across the record there are melodic references to the best of power-pop with the Martha-like bouncing guitar of ‘Cygnets’, and of indie-rock with the Weezer surf jangle of ‘G.N.A’, and even the prosaic MOR of Fleetwood Mac is lifted in the subtle melody and cutting lyrics of ‘Bloom’. With Turtle Taxi Suggested Friends have honed their sound and in their honesty found even greater strength. You can hum these tunes and dance along and hear the joke but not what was suffered, as with the very best pop music, but it’s when you let yourself really feel as much as hear what’s going on that this album becomes really great.” Popoptica
“Suggested Friends have again tackled important issues with wit and wondrous melodies. You’ll want to take a ride in this particular Turtle Taxi” Spectral Nights
“This record is loaded with gorgeous hooks and melodies, and I can’t come up with enough superlatives to keep writing, so I’m just going to tell you to buy this record while I go listen to it for the sixth time in a row” Keep Track of the Time
“beaming confidence and radiant with classic indie melodies” The Autumn Roses
“brilliantly distinct, wrapping their varying influences in to one rabid burst of lofi indie-rock” Gold Flake Paint
“frighteningly good in a way that most stuff called frighteningly good just isn’t” Everett True, The Friendly Critic
“a bright, fun, sparkly album with raw and to the point lyrics – there’s no hiding from the wit. Check it out; you’ll be hooked” Loud Women
When The Horn Blows [interview]