Friends' new album, The Zen House, is out now.

The ultra-acoustic set is the band's tenth album, and features sixteen songs in often minimal, stripped-down arrangements. Many of the tracks were recorded 'live' in the studio in single takes, and the album has an intimate, close-up feel with the emphasis on the singing and guitar-playing of songwriter William Jones, with double bass from Edwin Pearson, percussion from Martin Parker, occasional keyboards from Jon Kirby, and a couple of sumptuous string quartet arrangements.

Two of the songs, When You Smile and Bird, were previewed in the band's recent Japanese shows in Tokyo and Osaka, and at the Berlin Popfest, and you can see photos of the tour by Takeshi Hattori and Martin Parker here.

The Zen House is released in Japan on CD by Vinyl Japan, who recently promoted Friends' successful Japanese dates with The Monochrome Set. It's available in the UK and the rest of the world from Summerhouse, at the Summerhouse online shop, and downloads are available from all the major downloads stores.