Friend Roulette ‘Joan’
Fear and anxiety; fraternal emotions producing similar physiological responses, yet differentiated by their temporal duration.
Picture a barren street at 4am, the solo trudge home that we’ve all been privy to at one time or another in our wild lives… a rustling echoes from a nearby garden, the sonic criminal’s shadow cast in large-proportioned ghastly rugged lines along the adjacent brick enclosure. Is your post-club self a bit tattered by an unfriendly rejection, or are you brimming with the giddiness of a dance-alicious evening? Of course, the uneasy former is much more susceptible to thoughts of a) ghouls b) rabid cats c) a grimy old man who’s probably been stalking you for your entire life and waited until this very opportune 4am stroll to finally rear his hinds and pounce.
I find this sort of depressing-unnerving dichotomy to be a fatal combination in terms of the “transportability” we speak of when describing music’s somewhat untetherable affectual effects. Friend Roulette present themselves as masters of this emotional trickery, planting off-putting items of past unforgettables amidst plumes of depression-inducing, lavender-coloured smog. Off their recently released EP The Matt Sheffer Songbook, standout track ‘Joan’ features synths reminiscent of storybook harp-plucking as well as frontwoman Julia Tepper’s floating voice and haunting violin. The EP is based off of material from a dark time for band member Matt Sheffer, where a car accident rendered him unable to produce music… other than eerily despondent, one-handed piano melodies.
A single, half-burned candle bathing in a pool of its own murky wax; a light rain, muddying up the windows such that only a scraggly, winter-beaten tree’s silhouette is barely visible; and ‘Joan’ emanating from an unknown sound-port, weaving in and out of the crackling fire pit, filling the room with the weary voices of lost souls.