The Amber Bugs never shy away from topics that might seem controversial to some people. With ‘Pricks 2020’ they playfully yet aggressively took on annoying people before turning on the worker/consumer trap in ‘Make Money, Spend Money, Die’. With their single ‘Could We Be Friends’ the band is taking a more vulnerable approach to their usual brutal honesty.
A single that drops some of their lively funk and rock for tender and optimistic folk, it considers putting yourself out there. Opening up to the possibility of rejection, the band reaches out for a connection and asks the simple question of the song, ‘Can we be friends?’. While a bit of a change from their usual sound, the vulnerable yet optimistic single really shows that this band is anything but a one-trick pony.
‘Could We Be Friends’ shuffles into your ears with the beats of the melody. Resting on this is a marching piano line that gets your foot tapping to the beat. The melody has a quizzical feeling to it that reaches out with a tender touch to gently tug at your sleeve to get your attention. While the melody is more vulnerable than we are used to from the band, there is a ring of truth through it. The brutal honesty of the band comes through the vulnerability for a really honest vibe. The rise and fall of the melody borders on anthemic particularly when the horns pop from the background with a genuine feeling.
The genuine honesty of the melody weaves into the vocals which bring a confused sadness to the soundscape. The change in tone from their usual fair comes through in the lyrics as well as the soundscape. There is an opening of self in the lyrics as the band reaches out for a friendly connection. The vocals highlight the affection felt for someone while putting your emotions on the line. When the vocals harmonise, the band perfectly captures the deer-in-the-headlights feeling that many people get when encountering someone they want to befriend. Through all of this, there is a rather innocent feeling of just wanting to be friends with someone.
The Amber Bugs take a softer turn for ‘Could We Be Friends’ as they lay their hearts on the line and innocently reach for a friendly connection. The melody weaves through quizzical feelings to an earnest reach for connection before rising for an anthemic innocence. The vocals bring a further poignancy to the song with a touch of affection, hesitance and yearning.