Brooklyn's Les Savy Fav is one funny band, but they never simply go for laughs. Instead, LSV's humor comes off as a byproduct of a basic rage at the inequities of modern life — it's not so much laughing to keep from crying as it is laughing to keep their collective spleen from erupting all over the damn place.
Let's Stay Friends, Les Savy Fav's first album of entirely new material since 2001's Go Forth (Inches, from 2004, collected older singles), sees no fall-off in either angst or laughs. "Pots & Pans" is a semi-fable about one of the world's lousiest bands ("They made this noise the people couldn't stand/ And when they toured, the people said, 'No, no, no'"), while the cool new-wave-like "What Would Wolves Do?" goofs on Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London," with singer Tim Harrington gently crooning an "ah-oooohh" chorus with his tongue firmly in cheek. "Brace Yourself" delivers some of the most cockeyed metaphors ("Before I was a cliff, I was a canyon/ Before I was a feast I was a famine") from a guy whose prior work wasn't exactly short of them over a rumbling dub-rock stew (imperturbable bass, phased guitars).
Harrington does pseudo-naïveté with more purpose than most lyricists this side of that other great Rhode Island School of Design student, David Byrne. Maybe that's why Harrington's anger cuts so deep: whether he's comparing himself to a horse being ridden by nefarious forces in "The Equestrian," or snarling, "I hold my breath, you hit my chest," over the furious post-punk guitars of "Raging in the Plague Age," he sounds genuinely wounded, confused and raring to do something about it.