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REVIEW: INVISIBLE FRIEND - SUNROOM
Sunroom

Invisible Friend
Sunroom

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Charcoal Balloon (Digital EP)

Invisible Friend
Charcoal Balloon (Digital EP)

Rhythms Magazine - Martin Jones, August 2011


All the way from Wagga Wagga, INVISIBLE FRIEND hit us with their third album SUNROOM, a brave amalgamation of deliciously unfashionable influences that take this reviewer back to the diversity of early 70's pop, when Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers were ruling the airwaves. Accomplished harmonies and playing (including Michael White's electric rhodes piano), a great feel for funk rhythms and an appreciable dedication to high quality production all point in that direction. Indeed, the first thing that strikes you about sunroom is how good it sounds coming out of your stereo speakers.

The band isn't afraid to stretch out into groove-based heavy jams, like on second track 'Motor Oil', which will appeal to jam band fans, but they also show themselves adept at three-minute pop nuggets like 'Lost Melody' and 'Get Off My Mind'. Elsewhere, they branch into roots reggae on 'With You' and synched-out space rock on 'Rubberball'.

It's not easy to sound smooth and melodic whilst being experimental, few bands in history have pulled it off. You need phenomenal chops and plenty of studio time, and SUNROOM is certainly a convincing step in the right direction.






The Northern Star - August 2011


A Strong sea breeze on a cold winter’s night didn’t stop fans flocking to see Invisible Friend at the Beach Hotel last Saturday. Their groovy music is a modern take on a 1960s and 1970s Beatles-esque sound.

The Byron Bay foursome got off to a late start with percussionist/vocalist Nino Haggith apologising and promising a 75-minute set.

Strong and confident performers, the quartet brought amazing melodic charm and stage presence to their show with a fresh and fun take on reggae-infused funk, with hints of roots, rock and blues oozing through the music.

Heavy bass seemed to be hypnotizing the already enthusiastic audience.

The last decade has seen Invisible Friend play around the world including a three-year residency in Germany, Switzerland and London.

They recorded their newest album Sunroom in Byron Bay, and have been busy spruiking it since its launch in April.

The boys had deep and harmonising multi-lead vocals, which complemented their soulful tunes.

With thought-provoking lyrics and a wide instrumental range, their voices give a distinctive signature to their music.

The funky and psychedelic set list of cherry-picked tunes highlighted their amazing musicianship and seemed to accentuate the already relaxed and cheerful vibe in the bay.

Everyone was up dancing and digging the music.

The mix of keyboard, guitar, drums, percussion and vocals lent a diverse and retro sound to Invisible Friend.

Their worldly experience ensures an array of fresh lyrics about life.

Two of their strongest songs were Wake Up and Catfish.

Both tunes felt familiar, even conventional, yet their upbeat melodies clearly appealed to a wide range of fans.






Dave Weber - Drive, ABC Perth

Invisible Friend’s album ‘Sunroom’ is an amazing mix of musical proficiency, memorable tunes and exploratory jamming.

Their sound is hard to describe.

Imagine Genesis in the late 1970s. They retain Peter Gabriel on vocals, and they decide on a whim to move to the southern regions of The United States to record with Tom Dowd, after some late night jamming excursions with The Allman Brothers. Randy Newman drops by for a bit of guest playing and arranging. And then they take the results to a studio in San Francisco.

Yes, that’s a lot to get one’s head around, but it’s what went through my head when I listened to this album for the fifth or sixth time.

And for all of that, it’s unpretentious. The perfect mix!

They started in Wagga in New South Wales and went to Europe, spending three years in Germany, Switzerland and The United Kingdom. They came back to Australia to set up their Sunroom recording studio on the Far North Coast.

They are Michael White on vocals and keyboards, Matthew Gulliford on vocals and guitars, Nino Haggith on vocals and percussion and Brendan Drinkwater on drums.

They are simply excellent, ‘Sunroom’ is a contender for local album of the year.







Matt Hill - Scene

Deep in the woods of Whian Whian Invisible Friend have been beavering away making their follow up album to 2008’s Mysterious Maps. 
The band features drums, percussion, guitar, keyboards, keyboard bass, and two distinctive male vocalists. The album was recorded at the band’s home studio (‘Sunroom’) and by the look of the CD cover photos this looks like an enticing place to make music. 

The tracks on Sunroom really sound like a band production. There is a strong live performance feel throughout with intensity and dynamics in each song well captured. The songwriting is polished throughout, with some clever arrangements and crafty bridge chord progressions. The production and songwriting aesthetic sits predominantly in a retro 1970s funk/rock vibe. The tracks are big on bluesy guitar breaks, backing vocal hooks, and colourful percussion underlays. 

Stylistically there are some comparisons to be made with Steve Miller Band (particularly the track Soul), Lenny Kravitz (Lost For Words), Steely Dan (Motor Oil) and the Beatlesque arrangements (Get Off My Mind, Sometimes). My favourite moment is the intense drum n bass style groove and wall of synth and guitar noise at the end of Rubber Ball - perhaps not so radio friendly as some of the other tracks but a great racket all the same. You might see more of these moments in a live setting I suspect. 

The band will be launching the album at the Brewery in Byron Bay on Saturday 2 April.




Tony Bates - Program Manager, Highlands FM


Invisible Friend is the sort of Band you wished you both belonged to and discovered. The retro sounds of Pink Floyd, other psychedelic bands and The Moody Blues all can be heard amongst this band's latest work, MYSTERIOUS MAPS. 

Take a journey back in time with 'Miracle Drug', 'The Television' and 'Charlie' to mention but a few, and you'll be asking for more. 

Their Dr Who like charm ensures that whilst they might have a retro base, they are very much providers of an exciting modern sound. 

Grab a copy while you can or even better, see them live.