Unlike most like-minded ensembles from the New York scene, Friction played in a traditional rock and roll set up, eschewing keyboards and noisome sax accompaniment. Of course, the fact that the band’s first recorded document didn’t arrive until 1980 might explain Atsureki’s lack of aural continuity. But what the album lacked in that particular department, it made up for in its simplistic song structures and delivery.
“Automatic Fru,” like so much of Friction, sports a pretty traditional rock opening, a normal chorus, but then brief sections in which instrumentalists are granted the freedom to explore the more absurd aspects of its craft. The songs were all relatively short, making for only brief rave ups, but the results were engaging, nonetheless.
Albums continued over the next decades, some were compilations. But it seems as if Friction is set to remain a relatively obscure group in the States despite DNA’s relative acclaim from underground afficianados. Recognition wasn’t necessarily the point of any of this, though. So, no great loss. At least Friction remains a pretty astute distillation of the straighter side of rock’s avant garde.