I feel like a whole week of music news passed me by, and only now have I realised the gravity of the announcements that I missed first time round. The first stroke of good news was the return of Field Music, which I discussed a a few days ago. Now, I absolutely have to get off my chest just how excited I am about a band/project/against-all-odds-miracle called Free Energy.
When indie-rock also-rans Hockey Night shut up shop a few years ago, no one could have predicted that members of the band would someday wind up sharing a studio with James Murphy and Pat Mahoney (of electronic/disco production powerhouse the DFA) under a new guise. And yet, somehow, that’s exactly what’s happened, and the fruits of this unlikely match-up’s labours are now being revealed song by song.
When news of this collaboration began being whispered about in hushed tones what seems like at least two years ago, I wasn’t actually hugely surprised. I always guessed there might be a love of FM rock and power pop lurking away in James Murphy’s heart, and it would appear that this guilty pleasure of his has finally found an outlet in the joyous riot of a party that is Free Energy. Their songs bounce around on chunks of guitar chords that have ridden straight out of a 1970s cabriolet. The drums are crisp and fills come tumbling out of the sky like confetti. The lyrics, delivered in an excited tone that suggests years of waiting for fame, are all about partying, the joy of relationships, and probably driving around America in a vintage cabriolet. At a time when power pop is being bludgeoned to death by increasingly puerile Weezer releases, and stadium/arena-rock is being pulverised and banalised by Kings of Leon, Free Energy are a breath of fresh air. Obviously, the production plays its part too, capturing the undeniably passionate sound of an unbridled electric guitar, alongside the occasional squelch of vintage synth. But importantly, the songs are there too – seemingly having jumped off the writer’s page, fully formed, snappy, catchy.
The outfit recalls the perpetual enjoyment of Thin Lizzy and Tom Petty with none of the sneering irony of early noughties garage rock. These guys are dead earnest about having a blast, and I’m dead pleased that their debut album, entitled Stuck On Nothing, is going to be released on 26th January 2010. At least that way, it’ll have a good six months to settle into a groove in people’s consciousness before its true season – the summer – blasts off.
Hit their MySpace for the lowdown, and be sure to check out the free single, “Dream City”.