Spunky and ineffably nostalgic, “Friends of Friends” is a New York song with a New York sound, and one that to my ears is rooted firmly in the later ’70s—music that blends an edgy Television/Talking Heads 77-ish bounce with a more playful David Johansen/Syl Sylvain-y groove and throws in a saxophone that surely has arrived through a time machine.
And yet “Friends of Friends” struts with its own, minimalist center of gravity and personality-driven sensibility. Check out the bass playing at the beginning for a conspicuous example of the band’s unembellished aesthetic, as well as the spaces, generally, that are left around the beat. As for personality, Hospitality has Amber Papini, a Kansas City-born kindergarten teacher who apparently learned to sing by copying Richard Butler on the Psychedelic Furs’ Talk Talk Talk album. (Well and who didn’t?) Here, she takes a herky-jerky melody and really works it. Neither the blurty verse nor the clipped, seemingly under-developed chorus is easy to make sense of as a singer; she pulls them off through sheer force of tone and presence.
Hospitality formed as a trio in 2007. They are now a quartet, and they have recently been signed to the consistently wonderful indie label Merge. The full-length Hospitality debut album is due in March 2012.