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With a vibrant, synth-based sound that’s both quirky and warm as well as slick and atmospheric, sibling-led BETWEEN FRIENDS grew out of the more rock-oriented outfit the Heirs in 2017. That year, they debuted their reworked style with the single “Suburban Wonderland.” The EP we just need some time together followed a year later, with the ’90s mixtape-inspired, expanded EP compilation i like it when you shine arriving in 2021. They more fully incorporated their efforts in the area of visual presentation on 2022’s Cutie, a multimedia EP whose freewheeling track list was influenced by everything from alt-R&B to space age pop.
The Hudson family moved from Florida to the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles when Brandon Hudson (vocals/guitar) was 11 and Savannah Hudson (vocals) was nine. Less inspired by the area’s music history than they were by how-to videos and the limitless musical sounds on the Internet, they eventually competed on the eighth season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent as Brandon & Savannah. Blending alternative hard rock and elements of pop, they made it to the semifinals. They had performed on the show with a backing band, but only afterwards did they officially expand their lineup to include Brennan Benko (drums), Alex Flagstad (guitar), and Elan McNeely (bass/keys), rebranding as the Heirs. The group signed with Capitol Records, which released the EP Ecliptic in 2015. The Heirs were featured on the following year’s Vans Warped Tour.
While working on more material, the band changed their name again, this time to BETWEEN FRIENDS. Introducing an electro-pop sound, BETWEEN FRIENDS’ first single, “Suburban Wonderland,” saw release in late 2018 on Better Sounds/Z Entertainment/Sony Music. Featuring the lineup of Hudson, Hudson, and Benko, the five-track we just need some time together appeared in 2019. A string of EPs followed in early 2021 beginning with February’s tape 001 and, a month later, tape 002. All three editions of the mixtape series were compiled alongside ten new tracks on i like it when you shine that June. By then operating as a duo, next up for BETWEEN FRIENDS was the audio-visual EP Cutie, which saw release in mid-2022. ~ Marcy Donelson