Golden Shoulders - Friendship is Deep
Record Label: Welcome Home
Release Date: April 22, 2008
Adam Kline is Golden Shoulders. Or at least for all intensive purposes he is. Being the only permanent member of Golden Shoulders, he takes the role of composer and figurehead for his band. Joining him on Friendship is Deep are a multitude of players described as being, “reasonably good musicians with good attitudes,” many who have played with A-list musicians ranging from Beck to Gnarls Barkley. So, the question remains: is Adam Kline a worthy enough bandleader to direct these musicians to further greatness? Well, I’m not entirely convinced. The benefit of being the sole permanent member is you receive all of the credit for your achievement. The downside is, however, that if it fails, the blame is all on you. Accept all responsibility, Mr. Kline.
Friendship is Deep is proof that a band is only as good as its leader. Despite the impressive resumes on Kline’s roster, the majority of his record fails to remain interesting past its first listen. Even the best musicians cannot save mediocre songs. Much of Friendship is Deep is trapped somewhere between a saunter and a sprint. Never quite driving and never sweeping, “I Will Light You on Fire” kicks off the record in aforementioned form. The polyphonic vocal melodies season the song, but not enough to make it stick. “Nothing’s All Right” follows suit with equally mundane lyrics: “The word hit my street / I found out, I found out / Meant nothing to me / But look out, yeah look out.”
“Don’t Ever Do That Again” finds Kline redeeming himself with a straightforward rock and roll riff that channels the work of Cake. It’s not surprising considering that drummer Todd Roper is a former member of Cake, making it familiar territory but still a welcome addition. “The Committee” pushes the tempo with big drums and even bigger guitars. Kline's sing/speak vocals once again channel the work of Cake’s John McCrea.
What I really want from this record is more energy, more passion, and more drama - anything for me to grab hold of and keep after the record has concluded. Kline has the talent and certainly has the company to make a great record. Unfortunately, together they don’t have what it takes to rescue these songs from their lackluster depths. Or, perhaps I’m being too critical. I certainly don’t hate Friendship is Deep. There are no moments when I listen that I want to hurl this disc across my room, and maybe that’s enough. But, conversely, there are no moments that cause me to leap from my chair, e-mailing and calling everyone I know to tell them I have found the last record they will ever want to hear. I just see potential in these songs - potential that for the moment has not been fully realized.