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Breaking up

Future Fridays mine lost love for uplifting power pop

The jangly love and loss of Future Fridays. Photo credit: Facebook

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Every great band deserves a killer breakup album. Beck had his with the lush Sea Change, Chris Isaak had the stone-cold classic Forever Blue, Kanye West had the claustrophobic oversharing of 808s & Heartbreak, and Bob Dylan gave us the anger and sense of betrayal on Blood on the Tracks. One of the greatest groups to come out of the indie rock scene of Australia was a little band called the Go-Betweens, and their 1988 breakup album was a doozy: an emotionally raw examination of the romantic entanglements of the band members, as well as the album that would mark the breaking up of the group, 16 Lovers Lane stands as a monument to the purity of love, the messy emotions that can infect it, and the destruction that typically follows a relationship's end.

While the relationship drama swirling at the center of 16 Lovers Lane gave the Go-Betweens the fuel to create a classic album, it was ultimately (at least, partly) responsible for shortening the lifespan of a great band. The same can't be said of Seattle duo Future Fridays, who carry with them the innate fascination of having begun recording an album as a couple, but completed it after breaking up. To survive the dissolution of a relationship while remaining in a creative partnership and even recording an album that explores the breakup is remarkable.

The resulting album, From Fun-zo to Done-zo, is neither maudlin nor bitter, and while it doesn't really shy away from its difficult subject matter, it doesn't give in to naval-gazing. Instead, it chooses the harder option, which to deliver a wide array of catchy power pop that happens to center on a relationship's end. Uplifting breakup albums aren't a dime a dozen; usually, these types of records are helpful for the way in which they allow you to commiserate with an artist over your shared sadness. What Future Fridays have managed to do, without sanding all the rough edges, is provide a positive look into a relationship that ended not because it was bad, or the participants in it were bad, but because it was just time for it to end.

Sari Breznau and Eric Padget, who make up Future Fridays, take the time to explore the virtues of ending a relationship as friends, rather than enemies. "Mutual Appreciation Society" finds them reciting the mantra "it's only gonna get better from here," as they sing about what a relief it is to be able to regard each other as people simply doing their best, without the weight of a romance hanging over how two people perceive each other. Elsewhere, "Put Your Name on It" finds Breznau and Padget illustrating getting married in both favorable and unfavorable lights (making a work of art or getting arrested, respectively).

Padget's voice, at times, comes off like a combination of They Might Be Giants' John Linnell and the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, with its nasal quality and upper-register shakiness. It mixes well with Breznau's voice, which sweetens the frequently affecting harmonies. Musically, Future Fridays tap into the lo-fi, jangly energy of the C86 movement of British indie pop, sometimes dipping into cheeky punk or melancholy keyboards.

From Fun-zo to Done-zo closes, appropriately, with "The Break Up Song," a barely one-minute-long explosion of brash joy, but earlier in the album sits "War From Within," which carries a mournful tone. I have no idea if the song was written pre-breakup or after, but it features Padget singing about how he'd likely go mad if he and Breznau were ever to part. Future Fridays don't make it clear whether or not they think this is a healthy mindset to be in, but what's clear is that there were deep waters at the heart of that relationship, and possibly deeper ones now that it's done.

OBSIDIAN, w/ Future Fridays, Sawtooth, Sean Downey, Lures, 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, $5, 414 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360.890.4425

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