Before I begin, shouts out to Archie’s Pizza and Bushwick Public House. Two big Brooklyn bands, Good Looking Friends and Stay Inside, have released a collab EP called Balancing Acts. The disc includes two tracks from each band, along with a collaboration track called “Testimonial” which packs double the anthemic punk into one song.
While the album has tracks from each band, the overlap between bands and the collaboration between both of them makes this more than your average split EP. Both bands have performed together quite a bit since meeting, and the way both groups gel on each track makes their friendship clear.
Good Looking Friends’ half includes the bit-crushed ballad “The Rope”, which layers desolate voice on top of looping guitars and captures the cold in which both bands wrote the songs for the EP. GLF’s second track, “Bodega Cat”, picks up the pace with a bit more of an alternative feel and a taste for vengeance.
Then it’s Stay Inside’s turn; the band strips down their usual hardcore sound for something a bit more post-rock on “FOIA”, then slows it down even more for “The Fall”, a swirling soliloquy featuring the breathy vocals by Chris, Bartees, and Bryn.
These four tracks make for a cathartic listen, but “Testimonial” — the collaboration track between both bands which comes between “FOIA” and “The Fall” — acts as the climax of the record. It begins slow and reflective, then explodes into a stadium-rock symphony which would blow the doors off of a major arena and surely make any DIY venue an outdoor space, since all of the walls would crack apart from the sheer amount of rock and the jumping around of those in the pit. Both bands trade vocals at the beginning, but by the end, everyone’s singing the final refrain at the tops of their lungs; and perhaps, you will too.
“Testimonial” is surely one of the best tracks to come out of the Brooklyn indie rock scene this year, but it’s worth it to pick up the full Balancing Act EP to understand the full talent of both Good Looking Friends and Stay Inside. GLF guitarist Zach Fischer and Stay Inside bassist Bryn Nieboer talked about the making of the record on Already Heard; check that out for some behind-the-scenes details. ⊜