Ross from Friends, “Family Portrait”
Ross from Friends
Sorry to burst your bubble: Ross from Friends is not actually David Schwimmer, but rather a twenty-four-year-old producer named Felix Clary Weatherall. His moniker might not be the most conducive to a fruitful Google search, but Weatherall has grown immensely since his start in 2015: Following a series of EPs and successful singles comes Weatherall’s full-length debut, Family Portrait. The London-based musician has ascended from a “literal dead-end town” to become one of the most hyped experimental dance music acts around.
Weatherall’s father played a significant role in him pursuing the genre, as he was once a touring producer himself; in fact, not only was Ross from Friends conceived from dance music, but so was Weatherall, in a sense. The music video for “Pale Blue Dot” is evidence of this, documenting how his parents met on a sound system tour in Europe. Weatherall uses Family Portrait to celebrate his origins with lighthearted sincerity.
Ross from Friends presents a bright and abstract depiction of personal identity, reflected right at the start with the album’s cover art. The title track is a cocktail of jingle bells, clattering synth melodies, lo-fi gurgles, and a potential rainstick shimmer; it’s unique and unexpected, but also homey—just as the title suggests.
In addition to its intimate context, the album embraces multiple forms of dance music. “Project Cybersyn” is exuberant and wormy techno that delights in computer beeps chatting in their own alien language. “Back Into Space” is a kaleidoscope of samples that feels like a nostalgic time capsule or an annoying younger sibling unable to pick a channel. Saxophones spiral to skyscraper heights during “Thank God I’m a Lizard,” where the title is repeated in a slithering whisper as percussion claps mirror the likes of Benihana spatula tricks. Most importantly, Ross from Friends’ debut indulges in humor and the minutiae of legacy, handling the details with care.