|Earlier in the week they released a brilliant music video for 'Decision Dollars', The video was directed, shot, and edited by Bryson Rooney and features Phoenix Foundation member Lukasz Buda playing a lonely, middle-aged man who finds joy in the uplifting chorus of a classic power ballad - WATCH HERE.
In the time since their last record in 2015, Give Up Your Dreams, the band have scored the music for Taika Waititi's award-winning film Hunt For The Wilderpeople – as well as contributing further tracks to Waititi's Boy, Eagle versus Shark and What We Do In the Shadows – written, recorded and toured with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, built shrines to light, created scores for VR and produced other bands. Slowly, when they could, the six old friends found time to work together in studios, garages, forests, and sheds around New Zealand to put together the concise ten song set of that is Friend Ship.
Friend Ship stands for the power of friends and communities to carry us through life, for better or worse. After 20 years the band has had its internal ups and downs but in this rather brutal time in history it’s our genuine friendships that can move us through to a potentially brighter, more equal, less pandemicy future. “I will answer when you call me on the Landline.”
The role of collaboration is key to the record, not only because of the weight and character that each brings to their performance but because the album is rooted in friendship. The record is of course named after it. “The title refers to friendships not being these passive social interactions but ever-evolving living vessels which carry us through life,” says Scott. “After the mosque attacks in Christchurch, this was something I was thinking about a lot, that sense that in order to move forward as humans we actually need to actively support each other.”
However, whilst the album is a beautiful and often tender one, sometimes rooted in immersive and dreamy ambient soundscapes, it’s also one that captures the strangeness of the modern world. “These themes of modern anxiety started to emerge in my songs,” says Scott. “The album is sort of a post-apocalyptic love letter from the future to the present. Looking back into the past for that sense of human connection we have lost in our screen-based existence."
Much like many things in the world of Phoenix Foundation, the new record is nuanced, multi-faceted, distinct and idiosyncratic. And it’s yet another album in their increasingly expansive cannon that exists on its own terms. “I don’t quite know how we pulled this record off,” says Scott. “But I love it. For songwriting, I’d place it alongside Buffalo and Pegasus but it also sounds nothing like those albums. It’s very much its own thing.”
Friend Ship is out now via The Phoenix Foundation/Universal NZ