Friko Crashes Onto the Scene – Where we’ve been, Where we go from here Review

Written by Sean Crosby

Occasionally when listening to an album I’ve never heard from a band I haven’t gotten around to yet, I’ll push play and be instantly pulled into a completely unique world. Songs like The Strokes’ “Is This It”, Arcade Fire’s “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”, or that goddamn guitar in the intro of American Football’s “Never Meant” are so immediately engrossing they give you goosebumps on first listen. It’s incredibly rare for a band to nail their sound so perfectly on the opening track of their debut album. So, when I felt those same goosebumps when I heard the gentle guitar and tender singing of Niko Kapetan in the opening notes of “Where we’ve been”, I knew I was in for something special. The song slowly builds from a quaint and folksy opening to a cathartic explosive rock ending where Kapetan goes from softly singing to desperately screaming the song’s chorus about clinging on to those you love. It’s one of the strongest intro tracks that I’ve heard in a long time, and the best part of Friko’s debut album Where we’ve been, Where we go from here is that it only keeps getting better. 

Friko manage to pack an incredible amount of variety into a compact 36-minute runtime. It’s easy for any debut album, especially a debut from a small band, to be somewhat one-note. Friko flips this assumption on its head, and instead goes into a largely different direction with each track. The album transitions between exciting indie-rockers, somber piano ballads, and bittersweet string-led serenades effortlessly. No two songs on the album are too similar to each other, and the band consistently introduces interesting production choices to keep listeners invested. One of my favorite of these flairs comes during the bridge of “Chemical”. After a short build, Kapetan’s repeated yells of “chemical!” are so frequent that they begin to overlap each other, adding a sense of frantic inertia to the whole song. It might not seem important, but little touches like these add up very quickly to make the album an overall joy to listen to.

One of the album’s absolute standouts is “Get Numb To It!”, a re-recorded version of the band’s first ever single. This song is dripping with character, from the stripped-back acoustic opening that slowly builds into the fast-paced percussion of the verse to the group vocals of the chorus to the blown out guitars in the song’s explosive conclusion. It ends with a lo-fi reprise of “Where we’ve been”, which ties the entire album together and perfectly sets up the closer “Cardinal”, a quaint piano and string ballad that addresses the second half of the album’s title: where we go from here. Whereas much of the album’s lyrical themes focus on past loves and anxieties, “Cardinal” is much more present, focusing instead on facing a difficult future.

Chicago indie rock duo Friko’s debut album Where we’ve been, Where we go from here is an impressive, expansive, and endearing effort that is emblematic of a band with an incredible amount of potential. Wherever they go from here, it’s clear that Friko is a name to remember.


Best Tracks: “Where we’ve been” / “Crashing Through” / “Chemical” / “Get Numb to It!”

You can find Friko on Instagram and Twitter and on all streaming services