Friends Forever, what a lasting sentiment. Especially for those of us who haven’t seen our friends in months. But the time has finally come to grab a pint with the pals (you know, aside from the dangers to public health under the tyranny of capitalism, anyway, let’s not get political)… Or stay inside and loop Mediocre Café’s new music video to Jazz Club/ Friends Forever. A drink of your choice is prescribed.
Mediocre Café, in spite of what you may think, is not an East London spot serving coffee in mugs without handles, it’s Sacramento born and bred musician Cooper Coffroth. A musical project conceived in 2017, with the help of friends (forever) Plum Anderson, Taylor Kohl, Noah Campos, and Claire Tauber, Mediocre Café are demonstrate an ability to silence the chaos through music. It’s slightly threatening to my ego that Coffroth has managed to release a string of EPs and debut album over a mere 3 years. Thank god, I love it.
Without a doubt, it’s a treat to debut their video for Jazz Club / Friends Forever. Opening with a sardonic burglar, by the looks of it, takes a shot despite running late for an appointment. Not a burglar after all, as we’re soon informed, but a hairdresser performing a um… terrible Edward Scissorhands style do. This is perhaps symbolic of coronavirus – the burglar is the pandemic; the hair cut is literally and figuratively how we’re all looking and feeling. Then again, that reading is a bit too English teacher ranting about the significance of blue curtains in Tracy Beaker. It’s just a haircut. As the narrative develops there is more drinking and more snipping – this is definitely quarantine. The barber / burglar, to his dismay, is grooming a never satisfied customer. Eventually spurned, he relaxes and the victim sent on his way. Fin. There is a heavy irony throughout the whole video conserved beautifully by the subtitles. A Jean-Luc Goddard parody springs to mind when watching, then again, I don’t know much about French New Wave cinema.
Jazz Club / Friends Forever continues their tradition of alternative elevator style music heard in earlier tracks, such as Gratitude. The songs slur into each other (like the drunk barber by the end of the video) so instrumentally but seamlessly it’s hard to notice the depth of lyrics. But as Friends Forever title entails, there is a great scope of relationships with others explored. And as we consider our own relationships especially during this time, a mediocre café seems the perfect setting. Just as Jazz Club and Friends Forever synchronise, the remainder of debut album Easy Listening follows suit in a lulling rhapsody. There are a lot of bands experimenting in this way but there is remarkable consistency and distinct style to Mediocre Café. Easy listening certainly, but the music engenders such complexity of production and ultimate originality for a lasting effect. It’s a start to finish listen, mostly because you don’t know where to stop, nor do you want to.