Friendo: Cold Toads

St. Ives

If charming, deliberately detuned guitars make a first case for Cold Toads — the debut LP from Canadian trio Friendo — the moving instrumental parts deftly intertwined with buried vocals second them loudly. Not unlike guitarist and vocalist Michael Wallace’s other project Women (in which he was the drummer), Friendo’s lo-fi aesthetic belies the band’s absolute gift for contrapuntal songcraft hidden just beneath the surface. “Callers” and “Counter/Time” reveal some kind of gripping nostalgia through their almost anachronistic combo of distortion with frivolity (funny synth, tambourine), while “Oversees” and “New Sibley” boast atonal mumbling and never-stagnant melodic picking that communicates the group’s own kinetic flow. With two other instrument-switching bandmates, Wallace’s Friendo makes Cold Toads a hot-headed amphibious attack. 4 stars out of 5