Friend or Foe is a weird band. The members of the band hide their real identities, when they are not the demons they are on Friend or Foe, they go like common guys sold to establishment. Aha. We could wonder for ages which identity is actually the real REAL one. They are hiding because they don’t want to loose the good things they get from being daylight prostitutes, they think Friend or Foe can scare their clients. And they might be right, because Friend or Foe is a bit scary, disturbing at least. They like to wear weird dresses on stage, they yell a lot of things to the audience, and not everybody understands what they say, and they are most of the time pretty wasted on the stage.
They have put a lot of energy on their mise en scène, and when they were still developing their personalities on the stage, they were spending so much time taking care of their outfit and look, I was wondering if they were noticing that sometimes on their shows they were playing way out of tune, with the bass and the drums not together at all, totally messing up the songs. I’m not saying that is wrong to take care of the stage act of a rock band, I like Kiss, and David Bowie specially, and I wouldn’t like it if they wouldn’t have done what they did. But I’m a fan of balance too. (Maybe I’m boring… I know!). The thing is that Friend or Foe was blurry, but then when they started to record this album they finally came back to their music, and so they started to play much better on their shows. Honestly, last time I saw them playing I still felt that they were not perfect, but it’s like what Andy Best told me once, rock is messy, he said. I don’t totally agree with that, but I know that rock is not jazz. Also, I know, I am far away from being perfect myself, so I wouldn’t ask perfection to anyone. But. Yes, but! It is just awesome to listen to music that is so well done and played that gives you goosebumps. And I still haven’t felt that with Friend or Foe. Though I have been impressed with them more than once, not only when they have been showing much skin, or when they have performed so wasted that I’ve felt that we are back to the 70s. They have also impressed me when they started this album, and they started to improve just because they were finally listening to themselves. That impressed me, because I thought they would never be aware of their sound. I’m very happy to say I was terribly wrong.
These guys are as skillful as toxic, it would have been a shame if they would have missed that (that they are skillful), but they didn’t. It was nice to see that they still have their soul in their music (their burning-in-hell souls of course), and that even though they have been through a lot of changes they have survive well. Killing their bassist Bill, and then going through a series of tests looking for a new bassist to finally find this new guy, that shows up dressed up like a girl with a one day beard, and that seems to be some kind of mistaken nerd, but that totally gets the vibe happening between Rabshaka and Mahanadan.
My Claw Is Never Limp was produced by a coalition of clever and strong forces acting in Shanghai these times. Adam Gaensler, Dennis Ming Nichols, the Acid Pony guys, Le Wei Yu, Mei Wah and Ivan Belcic who did the comic on the booklet with the CD. I know that at the end of the process of this album Friend or Foe was close to die massacred by the Acid Pony guys, the gossip is that Friend or Foe guys were turning neurotic about the details on the album, and Acid Pony guys were not into going back to re do what they already re did more than once on some tracks. I have no doubts that Friend or Foe would have deserved it if Acid Pony would have killed them. Surprisingly, and luckily, The Horses didn’t go violent and Friend or Foe is still alive. It would have been a bad end for the album. (Though probably it would have brought much more fame to it, and to those involved in it).
It is very important to mention the production of this album, because they strengthen the best of Friend or Foe, and they transformed all the weaknesses of the band in power, they understood their music so well that the album is probably better than what right now is Friend or Foe live. And I have to add that this also happened because of the clarity and will of Rabshaka himself, and the wisdom (!) of Mahadana, because they were the main orchestrators directing the work of all the guys producing the album. Right now they know what it is to be a professional indie band.
My Claw Is Never Limp rocks along the ten tracks. There is a vast variety of rhythms, sounds, styles, colors, and textures on this album. Enough to show to anyone that Friend or Foe loves intensely (and probably only) rock. There are awesome riffs to play invisible guitar with. Great rattles to headbang at. And even nice melodies to sing along. From the crazyness of “Terrorized” to the even kind of sweet, if possible, “Almost Too Much” the album does not falls, neither fails. I don’t feel like going descriptive with this one, I’ve said a lot about it already. I’ll start to end this.
My Claw Is Never Limp is a rock party, the guests are many different kinds of rock, and they are all together having fun, kicking asses, yelling for rebellion, raping innocence, and raping rapists too, being disgustingly cool, and just fun, and of course, getting wasted with whatever toxic shit falls into their hands, mouths, noses, and well… I won’t get more descriptive than Friend or Foe themselves. So I’ll just finish simple. My Claw Is Never Limp rocks.