For Friend Operation, rock is an infinitely mutable genre, & the Texas band showcase exactly that with their expansive sophomore EP, Irrelevant.
Flitting between soothing and aggressive and catchy and technical, the five-track project stands as a testament to the band’s sonic diversity, with traces of emo, post rock, and math rock found in abundance.
Friend Operation kick off proceedings with Keeping Score, a sunlit EP opener that coasts on fuzzy strums and shimmering cymbals.
There’s a folksy flair to the track in its opening moments, with twangy strings and instrumentation that feels destined for a summertime road trip.
Further enriching the sound is the vocals, which brings a pop punk energy courtesy of an infectiously sneering timbre.
Leaning into that punkish attitude, Keeping Score veers into noisier garage on its chorus, where the instrumentation erupts into sonic catharsis with quick-tempo drum rolls and anthemic delivery.
That triumphant spirit continues on Portrayal, which deploys jittery percussion and a climactic instrumentation for an absolute belter of a chorus; the kind you’d blast with your windows up on a morning commute.
Here, the band dissect the faux disguises we try on to make sense of the world, showcasing an incisive lyricism that remains a throughline for the entire tracklist.
Elsewhere, on Tan Walls, Friend Operation make use of catchy call-and-response vocal riffs, so earwormy you’ll be repeating the backing “hey!” and “woo!” ad libs for days.
Irrelevant reaches slower grooves on penultimate track Boredom Showers, a soft rock cut that marks a refreshing change of pace for Friend Operation.
Brooding vocal delivery and melodic guitar finds the band at their most vulnerable, musing candidly on remaining present and the unavoidable passage of time.
Friend Operation speak on the need for alone time, enhancing the message with a late-song eruption of cataclysmic instrumentation before petering off to silence.
The band’s efforts culminate on final track Riches Are Hidden, a fittingly expansive entry that feels at once sombre and blissful.
With its summery feel and stretches of uninterrupted instrumentation, the track is a worthy testament to Friend Operation’s masterful coalescence of their sound.
Irrelevant stands as a feat for any band, but the project is especially impressive given that it marks the band’s second-ever EP, following on from their 2021 self-titled debut.
Don’t let the title confuse you, Friend Operation are anything but Irrelevant. Listen to the new EP below.