Boomkat Product Review:
This is the debut album from Israeli-born solo artist Luke Top, whose work has previously been heard on collaborations with Cass McCombs, The Papercuts, Foreign Born and his Los Angeles-based "Afro-Hebrew dance band" Fool's Gold. Friends is Top's debut solo long-player, recorded for the most part in a Southern Californian bungalow. Given its DIY beginnings, Friends proves to be a sonically impressive first LP, showing plenty of depth and enough promise to make him an artist worth keeping tabs on. Occasionally you get the impression that these songs - however well presented and impeccably arranged they may be - lack a certain something in terms of conveying a distinctive, fully formed artistic voice. Occasional strings and horns augment the record where necessary, and the production, while perhaps somewhat over-compressed, is substantial and comes with a real sense of weight. Somehow, despite all this the songs tend to glide on by without leaving much of a mark on you, but pieces like the excellent 'Pretty City' and 'Sacred Room' pack in sufficient Grizzly Bear-like ambitiousness to keep you coming back for another listen.