Friend of All the World
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Friend of All the World

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic




"The Wild Album Review"

Montreal singer-songwriter Rob Cole returns for his sophomore release under the new collective incarnation of Friend of All the World. The quintet, vetted in part through an ad on Craigslist, as well as having to pass a trial run for the recording of Cole's debut, feature some great musicianship, elevating Cole's song craft with lush instrumentation and tight arrangements. Tracks off The Wild are made playful with the sprightly tones of a ukulele and glockenspiel, given warmth and depth by the violin, cello and harmonium. Together, they manage to raise the album above the moody, granola typecast it might have easily fallen into, given their gentle folk harmonies and lyrics leaning heavily on forest-inspired poetry. Sprouting from Montreal's fertile indie-folk scene, Friend of All the World may not be leading the pack, but The Wild at least sees them keeping pace with their contemporaries. - Exclaim

"Album Review"

There’s an underwhelming description of the Friend Of All The World on their website which suggests the Montreal band don’t fully understand their own strengths. As statements of intent go, “tunes that evoke the camaraderie of a kitchen party” hardly sets the pulse racing. And indeed, there are country-tinged tracks on The Wild that fit that description to a tee – but this is absolutely not what they are about. What they are about – what thankfully, eventually dominates The Wild – are frontman Rob Cole’s ear for a downbeat tune, his unsettling imagery and the subtly rich arrangements which bring, not camaraderie, but aching isolation vividly to life.

And yet it’s an album that demands patience. Tracks like opener ‘Smokestack’, ‘Remembering The Stars’ and ‘Eyes’, with their banjos, ukuleles and amiable harmonies, are nice enough, but largely forgettable. But in amongst this rather unremarkable fare is the album’s standout track. ‘The Heartwood’ is terrific. “I’ve no skill with a brush but maybe words can conjure a scene,” is as fine an opening line as you could hope for – and a conjure a scene Cole certainly does, of millions of blank faces in their cars who can’t explain why they’ve gone out in the night-time rain. It’s a tale of the wearing effect of urban life, quite gloriously at odds with the camaraderie of a kitchen party.

And just when it seems the track is an unbearable burden for The Wild to take, the record kicks in for real at the midway point with ‘First Snow’ – a song so atmospheric you’ll shiver with cold – then the undeniably creepy slow-build waltz ‘The Dance’, in which Cole sings “I danced with your mother, I left her cold in her grave”. Cold, night, snow, rain – these are the things that Cole keeps coming back to, the things that give his best work its character and considerable pull. Friend Of All The World may want to be a band of warmth and camaraderie, but it’s the minor-key territory of cold and lonely they do best. - For Folk's Sake

"Music YOU sent US, Volume 3 (Disk review)"

You know what happens when you write a really positive of one great folk album? You get flooded with folk bands. It’s rare that I get music from this many good bands in a row, but hey, that’s what happened last week.

Friend of All the World have just released a new album called "The Wild", and it’s a beauty. This 11-track record should fit right into your collection if you’re into stuff like Dad Rocks! or Iron & Wine, perhaps with an even folkier edge. The Wild is a mellow musical journey I was happy to take, and which left me feeling relaxed and wanting more. At Home on the Sea will stay with me for a while, methinks. Beautiful sound. Check it out! - bloody underrated Blog

"New Release: FRIEND OF ALL THE WORLD – The Wild"

We were recently introduced to Montreal indie-folk outfit Friend Of All The World and to say that we like their latest effort, would be the understatement of the year so far. The album is chalk full of songs that might just be perfect for that rainy day indoors (it happens to be raining out).

Have a listen to The Wild in the Bandcamp player below – we’re really feeling Smoke Stack and At Home On The Sea. - The iNDiE MACHiNE

"The Wild - Album Review (french/français)"

Avoir été un journaliste dont le sceau de qualité respecte les critères du web 2.0, j’aurai ignoré complètement certains groupes de musique. Oui, ces artistes qui n’ont pas 100 admirateurs sur Facebook. En comparaison, les mauvais groupes de la côte est étalent sans cesse leur popularité sur Facebook, grâce aux milliers de personnes qui ont pris la décision un jour d’appuyer sur “Like”. À défaut d’embarquer dans cet aveuglement futile et inutile, on tombe sur de vraies merveilles. Il faut dire qu’à force de suivre les tendances du web et d’utiliser la popularité comme la référence par excellence pour définir le potentiel d’un artiste, on passe à côté des vraies trouvailles.

Heureusement, il reste des découvertes dont les qualités musicales dépassent le succès d’une campagne d’adhésion virtuelle auprès des amateurs potentiels. Friend Of All The World est un des secrets les mieux gardés de la métropole aux 1001 problèmes de circulation routière. Le collectif montréalais est formé autour de l’auteur-compositeur-interprète Robert Cole, qui a recruté ses musiciens à travers les petites annonces. “The Wild” est leur deuxième album, malgré le fait que le premier disque “Up these Branches” ne fut pas enregistré en tant que collectif.

“The Wild” suit parfaitement la recette du folk indé. Les cinq membres de Friend Of All The World livrent les 11 chansons avec assez de confiance pour assurer une solidité au disque et un brin de retenue afin d’obtenir une belle cohérence. La précision est nécessaire; chacun des éléments dans le paysage sonore du groupe possède une utilité afin d’arrondir les morceaux de Robert Cole. Ce dernier fait preuve de beaucoup de confiance, sa voix arrondissant la sonorité organique de “The Wild”.

L’album nous fait passer à travers une gamme d’émotion grâce à la richesse des arrangements et la précision de l’interprétation de Cole. Sur “The Heartwood”, ce dernier se demande “I’ve no skill with a brush, But maybe words can conjour a scene”. Oui, le leader du collectif étale ses mots afin d’évoquer un évènement, un souvenir, avec précision.

Quand un ensemble de chansons est amené avec autant de naturel, il est impossible de ne pas ressentir toutes ses subtilités et d’être impliqué dans l’écoute du disque. C’est peut-être parce que mon chat dort en boule à côté de moi au son de Friend Of All The World, pendant que la ville se fait recouvrir par une neige fondante bien pesante. L’écoute de “The Wild” m’a permis de vivre un moment unique. - 500khz

"Up These Branches - Review"

Get ready for a sleeper from Canada, more exactly from Montréal/Quebec: Robert Cole, creating music under the moniker Friend Of All The World. His debut was released not so long ago and goes by the name of Up These Branches. Referring to the official website, it took one year and a half to record it – and the result is very pleasant and promising.

Up These Branches is just the right album if you want a bit of melancholic fall feeling, but with lots of colored leaves falling. The title track is a perfect example for this, because Robert’s voice is sort of modest and sad. The acoustic guitar melodies and the sparsely used strings are just the right companions to underline the atmosphere and the banjo plays his part mostly forgotten in the background together with the slight percussions. But the richness of the instrumentation bars the track from becoming dark and depressed. As I said, it’s more a fall full of colors, reflective but with perspective (rhyme not intended). And this I would also call the basic trend of all the other songs.

What is just great besides the autumnal overall character is the fact, that the music does not drift so much towards what I call indie folk and stays more folk orientated. The lack of indie-ness gives a more earthy feeling to all of the 9 compositions wherefore they sound more serious and just a good deal more folky (indeed…). More Than I Could Say and Under The Dome Of Night’s Sky represent this in a very good way and I think if, say the recently reviewed Prattle On, Rick would do covers of the songs, it would be in more indie folk orientated fashion (or to get the clearer picture, just think of the often on CFM mentioned Home EP by Benjamin Gibbard & Andrew Kenney, because this is the indie folk style this album does not sound like).

All together I have very little to complain about, because the album shows talent for song-writing, a good feeling for different melodies on different instruments, as well as the needful honesty coming from the musician’s heart. But one little detail is strange; I listened to the album many times over the last time and the tracks seem to fight back against staying in your head somehow. But I can’t tell you exactly why – maybe the single songs sound a bit too much the same at some points (compare Asleep For The Winter and Golden Days). But then I don’t think that the record is boring at any time or does really copy itself. So I can’t give you appropriate reasons for my feelings.

Up These Branches made me very excited to hear what comes from this band in the future, because I think that the next release could be a real killer if the sound mellows just a little bit more. Anyways, consider me as a fan from now on. If you are interested in the music too (and you should be!), you should check out Friend Of All The World’s homepage (where you can buy a copy of the album) and his MySpace for further information. - Common Folk Meadow

"The Wild - Disc review"

While The Wild is the second album from Friend of All the World, a local indie folk project led by the smooth-singin’, guitar-pluckin’ Robert Cole, it is their first CD as a tightly knitted collective – recruited via a Craigslist ad. Standing somewhere between Neutral Milk Hotel’s and Simon & Garfunkel’s ways with melodies, Decemberists singer Colin Meloy’s voice and Iron & Wine’s sensibility, Friend of All the World dwell in familiar folk territory but still manage to stand out with intimate, earnest songs (standout tracks include Smokestack and By the Trees) crafted with the precision of a kind-hearted clockmaker. In short, a soulful, pleasant discovery. - Montreal Hour

"Univers Folk Interview (French)"

None. Radio Interview - Montreal

"Mike FM Interview"

None, radio interview, follow URL. - Mike FM 105 Montreal

"Mike FM Interview"

None, radio interview, follow URL. - Mike FM 105 Montreal

"Mike FM Interview"

None, radio interview, follow URL. - Mike FM 105 Montreal


2010 - Up These Branches
2012 - The Wild



As their name suggests, Montreal indie-folk outfit Friend of All the World craft tunes that evoke the camaraderie of a kitchen party or the fellowship that springs up between strangers who meet on the road.

Perhaps that’s because songwriter and front man, Rob Cole, employed a hitchhiker’s optimism and an ad on Craigslist to assemble the band. Friend’s 2009 debut, Up These Branches, was largely a solo effort by Cole, released in the hopes of attracting like-minded musicians with his haunting harmonies and rustic acoustic riffs.

Through a series of local gigs to promote the album, Friend of All the World found its footing and came to include Cole, Celine Bianchi, Benoit Duval, Kenton Mail, and Steph Park, who together are carrying the band’s sound into more collaborative territory.

Their new release, The Wild, has the same melodic hook of Cole’s earlier songs, but explores greater emotional range. Harmonies are brought forward (“Smokestack”) and rich arrangements (“You,” “The Heartwood”) conjure melancholy without melodrama. The result is the sense of shared intimacy to which the band’s name (taken from the Kipling classic, Kim) alludes: these are songs you can take with you on the road, for both the sweet and rough parts of the ride.

Please note that on the gig, this group has two formats - either a 6-piece band or a trio depending on the size and format of the venue/festival.