Review Summary: A couple of gems hiding in a mediocre poppy rock.
'We Are...' is exactly the sort of album you're expecting. The tracklist and band name speaks absolute volumes about what you can expect once you load up the now-defunct bands only LP; it's saccharine, poppy, full of hooks and full of tales about late nights in hotel rooms with the girl you happened to love that summer. Half of it is also pretty damned average, particularly the opening couple of tracks, but if you dig just a little bit deeper there's some real shining gems nestled in between the mediocrity. As aforementioned, My Girl Friday are no longer around as a band (and given how difficult it was to find them on Google, I'm not surprised) but after rolling through 'We Are...' many times over the past few days, it's clearly a shame they didn't catch the break they needed - there's talent here, it just needed more time.
The first three tracks don't really display any of this talent. It's not as though they're bad songs - they're just mediocre. It's exactly the same as every song from every band like this, and whilst I don't find myself skipping them, I don't find myself remembering them either. They're upbeat and filled with chorus's of "Ooooooh" and lines like "She can't see, all the things we could be" - I think you get the point. If you're 14 and pining after that girl who sits across you in your 9AM science class then maybe you'll find something resonant within these earlier tracks, but after being able to gorge on talents such as The Wonder Years and The Hotelier in recent memory, this brand of sweet and cliche pop seems to hold less significance.
The third song, 'Can't Stop Lovin' You' changes all that. It may well just be me, there's nothing in particular that I can pinpoint that separates this song from the average material that came before it - 50% of the song is just the title repeated by both the lead singer and a guest female vocalist - but it works. There's a constant rhythm in the background that rarely changes in tempo or direction and it gives the song a somewhat ethereal quality and, more importantly, it makes me smile, which really should be the top priority of this brand of pop-rock-whateveryouliketocallit. Thankfully the follow up song 'Hotel Room Queen' manages the same thing. It's again nothing particularly special, but it's a nice upbeat refresher after 'Can't Stop Lovin' You' and the lyrics "She's smokin' like nicotine" - which could be cloying - are sung with such verve and happiness and passion that you find yourself bobbing along with the song rather than being disappointed with the lyrical quality. Come on, the song even has a group-yelled "Yeah!" in the background.
Only two songs on the extremely short LP follow, and they're both fine, they're what you would expect. And that's okay. Not every band has to say something special, some can just have fun and sing lines like "We are, the life of the party --- We are, young and in love". It's easy to see why My Girl Friday didn't really make it - beside the middle two tracks there's no particular stand-outs here and that's why it's stuck at a 3.0 rating. But there's promise shown here, and it's a shame the band didn't get the chance to hone it further. Let's hope they're still the life of the party with whatever they're doing now.