Free Energy – Love Sign
Free Energy Records
January 15, 2013
What It Sounds Like: Mid-tempo power pop for the brightest summer days. Upbeat and “sing it back to me!” tunes with a straight shot of Bachman Turner Overdrive and the 70s. Super easy to listen to.
I’ll have to revisit Free Energy’s first record, Stuck On Nothing, at some point in the near future. I know that I thought that it was a middle of the road record at the time – nothing that really helped it stand out. Whatever the case, I’m sure that this year’s Love Sign is an undeniable improvement. Not mind blowing, and certainly not groundbreaking, but certainly enjoyable if you’re looking for some easy-to-swallow pop rock.
You’re forgiven for making snap judgements about a band that has a pretty cool name, but an album called….Love Sign. Song titles? Girls Want Rock, Dance All Night, Hey Tonight, Time Rolls On…
Dudes, who do you think you are? The freaking Plain White-T’s? Hey There Delilah wasn’t just an overplayed single; it really wasn’t that great of a song in the first place. Free Energy would make them solid tour mates, except it may get a little awkward for the T’s when the audience wants the opening band to stay on the stage longer than the headliner.
What appeals to me about this record is that it is just so stinking simple! Take for example, Backscratcher: Simple power chords over an ever-present cowbell. No experimentation. No sense of trying hard to prove themselves or shove something down your throat. Here it goes / The end of the night / You can go your way / I’ll be fine Paul Sprangers sings on the chorus. Nothing introspective about the lyrics – a middle-schooler could have written some of these words. But maybe, just maybe, that’s the appeal of it all. So many bands set out to prove themselves and try, try, TRY to take over the world. I don’t think Free Energy has any desire to take over anything. Simple structures and catchy freaking hooks overflow on this record. It’s nice to hear a band keep it super simple.
No shame, I am a fan of Hangin. Complete with Paul straining to hit a note on the chorus that he simply cannot hit, to background shouts of the always welcome staples of “Hey!” and “Yeah!” – it’s just so easy to listen to. True Love
slows down into an early 80s keyboard effect laden anthem. Album leader Electric Fever uses more of the familiar: simple power chords, a steady drum beat, some more cowbell, some more “Woah-ohs!” – and a solo!
When I listen to this record, I don’t immediately think about how wonderful it is. It doesn’t make me say – WOW! – this is record is so much better than so many others! It’s at least an eight out of ten! But it begs the question: with so many bands, and such a simple style, doesn’t a band deserve some serious recognition for creating an album full of catchy tracks (there really isn’t any filler!) even if they arn’t very artistic or groundbreaking?
I vote yes.
How many times in your life have you had a turkey sandwich? Bread, turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo – done. The same ingredients that you’ve had a million times in your life. There are a lot of other awesome sandwiches out there – unique ingredients that can add a whole extra spectrum to a sandwich’s makeup. But isn’t there something to be said about making that same-old turkey sandwich, but this time, with every bite, from the first to the last, you find the whole thing simply more enjoyable and than you ever have before? Everything is layered evenly. Nothing overpowering. Just a simple, great sandwich.
Sure, I crave The Wicked from Which Wich every so often, and more times than not, I am gonna pick that type of complexity over the simple turkey sandwich.
But something has gotta be said for making just a good, solid sandwich. No frills, just quality.
(Believe me, I’m as shocked as you are that I ran with that analogy as long as I did – a turkey sandwich? really?)
I’m about as nerdy and simple-minded as Free Energy as far as my examples go in this review.
If you had to listen to two tracks: Electric Fever / Dance All Night