*article written by Kyle McCoy
A cold wind blew from New Hope, PA on the day the news broke that Pill Friends‘ Ryan Wilson passed away. The national DIY music community noticeably felt the chill, but the small suburb of New Hope—a place that never broke a population of three thousand in its one hundred seventy years—undoubtedly lost shingles. And if any roofs lifted into the northeastern sky, they’d be the ones over Ryan’s close friends and family; most importantly, his surviving daughter, Laurel. That’s why Pill Friends’ final release, Let’s Be Nice, is so necessary. Pill Friends’ swan song is an effort to rebuild.
Composed of nineteen b-sides, covers, and demos from the now-defunct band, Let’s Be Nice captures honest humanity. Pirouetting between playful covers of Hank Williams and hopes of betterment in “Holy Like You”, from ruminations on a complex relationship with substances like “Klonopin” to pleas for kindness on the titular track, there is no self-editing. The very real emotions that inspired every last one of these songs aren’t beautified or moralized. Even little coughs are left in some of the recordings. You are experiencing a pure conversation, a relationship with another human being in the form of a remarkable bedroom pop album.
There is no way to individually analyze Let’s Be Nice without losing the full picture of the record’s worth, either. Vulnerable, ebbing and flowing, flawed and divine, Let’s Be Nice is a portrait of Ryan Wilson in nineteen parts. Each track is an element of his being turned to sound waves. The album serves as a sweet memorial to a creative soul. With every track, it’s easy to feel closer to Ryan, even if you’ve never met.
All proceeds from the sale of Let’s Be Nice goes to benefit Laurel’s trust fund, allowing father to help daughter even in his absence. Available on Bandcamp or cassette (through Out Of Breath Records), fans can do their part to continue Ryan’s memory and help the people that miss him dearly.