London's Friends "completely disown any television programmes of the same name", though I bet they're okay with the theme tune. They've been playing their own brand of jangly pop now for close to two decades, and 'Spangleland' (their ninth album) carries on their traditional search for the perfect three and a half minute pop song. They come very close on a couple of occasions: 'Happy New Year' in particular, is extremely pleasing, and 'Twice Around' is as good as any indie pop song you'll hear. The couple of longer numbers, 'Missing Person' and 'Turn The Sun On Me' take a few spins to sink in, but there's no dip in quality – you've just got to try a little harder.
Leicester Bangs, December 2007
The last time we heard from William Jones and his band Friends was in 2004, when they released the album 'Late Night, Early Morning'. Now they are back with their ninth album in twenty years, and in short you could say that all's quiet on the Friends front. Those of us who have listened to their earlier records know what to expect when the band is releasing a new album: great songs, slick production and William's soft voice. As usual I am looking for the instant pop songs, and this time around I find them in 'Happy New Year', 'Natural History' and 'Twice Around', which reminds me a lot of the Go-Betweens classic song 'The Streets of Your Town'. Great songs all of them! There are two songs on this album that exceeds the seven minute mark, 'Missing Person' and the closing track 'Turn the Sun on Me', and I think they are both a couple of minutes too long, but strong songs nevertheless.
The record label says this album is exploring some new directions for the band, something that I really can't hear. In my ears this is good old Friends, and that's good enough for me!
Penny Black online magazine, July 2007