My Rating: 8/10
Genre/ Tags: Alternative, Indie Rock, Pop
Free Energy formed in the Fall of 2008. Most of the band had already known each other from playing in a previous band called “Hockey Night” together. Originally from Minnesota, Scott Wells, Evan Wells and Paul Sprangers moved to the wonderful city of Philadelphia. When in Philadelphia they met guitarist Geoff Bucknam and drummer Nick Shuminsky, and shortly afterword, the band Free Energy came into existence. Their time as a band has been relatively short thus far, but they already have an EP out, and their first full length album “Stuck On Nothing” is due out on May 4th by DFA Records. If you’ve read about Free Energy anywhere else on the web, then you already know this album was produced by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy.
Before getting into this record, I didn’t know what I should be expecting. The most I knew about these guys were that they were from my city, Philadelphia, which is probably the original reason I decided to listen to them. It’s always cooler when the band is from the same city you’re from. But moving on. “Stuck On Nothing” holds a lot of talent on both ends, musically and lyrically. With that being said, I’d like to say that “Stuck On Nothing” was an extremely refreshing listen the first time around. It’s great that a band still wants to make a record like this, reminding many listeners of the classic rock days and the classic rock radio stations that play all of your beloved bands from the past. Lead singer Paul Sprangers guides us through the album with his reassuring vocals, and that becomes clear shortly after the album begins.
According to Sprangers, the first track “Free Energy”, is “kind of a survey of everything that we’re about. That song has a lot of elements of what we’re trying to do. It’s got really driving choruses, big simple riffs, really melodic harmonies, and wild guitar solos.” (via the LAist). Take it from the band member himself, because he’s right on the money. If you have a moment, read the rest of that interview too; it’s quite entertaining and insightful. But you heard the man, and he’s not just pulling our leg either. The album really is chock-full of this stuff. The “wild guitar solos” are constantly popping up left and right, like in “Bang Pop”, “All I Know” and especially “Bad Stuff”. “Bad Stuff”, the second longest on the album, is kind of a song on its own. Sprangers sings “If you feel my heart, then we’re tied by fate,” shortly before the epic ending begins. It’s slower and still full of excellent guitar work, but it evokes a different feeling that you don’t quite get anywhere else on the album. If you haven’t already been able to tell, this album is certainly worth all 45 minutes that it carries. Just about every last song would qualify as a highlight, including “Dream City”, “Light Love”, “Hope Child”, and “Wild Winds”. Just wait until May 28th, when most of these highlights will come to life at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. I think I speak for us all when I say that this show won’t come soon enough.
Bad Stuff –
Hope Child –