January 15, 2013 | Free People | Purchase
Look around the musical landscape in 2013, and it seems like it’s all about having fun. Turn on the radio, walk into a bar, and you’re surround by music that capitalizes on the carefree nature of getting plastered and waiting for the “drop.” They say that EDM and pop works because it’s easy to digest and connects with audiences on a large scale. They also say rock is dead. With all that said, it’s hard to convince people that rock music is alive and well these days. Well, I would like to bring Free Energy into the conversation.
Back in 2010 they warmed the hearts of 1970’s glam rock enthusiasts and modern rock fans alike with their charming debut Stuck On Nothing. They are back at it again with their new album, Love Sign. The band have gone on to self release it on their very own record label, Free People after leaving electronic label DFA.
Love Sign sees the Philadelphia based heroes picking up right where they left off, not missing a beat. If the album is missing anything it’s James Murphy’s production, but the band manage to pull through without him. The bands rock anthems are still as upbeat and pleasurable as can be, making it one the first feel good record of 2013.
Paul Sprangers, Nicholas Shuminsky, and Scott & Evan Wells know a thing or to about making things sound good. Whether they’re singing about enjoying the finer moments of life, or the struggle of finding a constant romance, Free Energy make it sound good. “Electric Fever” starts off the album with what seems almost trademark fashion from them, with a wall of huge guitar riffs, and that friendly cowbell. The band have no shame in living in the finer qualities of these decade old rock stylings, curating a revival of sorts. This time it seems like the 80s may have had their way with the band more so than the 70s. The trend is continued on “Girls Want Rock” a song that sounds exactly how it should.
The band are at their best when they stick to their guns, such as on “Hangin” or “Street Survivor” songs that deserve to be pumped at satisfying levels and blasted into the wee hours of the night with your closest friends and a couple of cold ones. With that said the album’s standout is the rock-ballad, “Dance All Night.” There’s a twinge of nostalgia that strikes quite the chord. Without trying too hard it’s dramatic in all the right places, and has a underlying romantic quality that is relatable. Album closer “Time Rolls On” hits a alt-country feeling that grew on me over multiple listens. It almost has a Springsteen sort of passion that just makes me want to take it on a long drive and reflect.
Free Energy may not be re-inventing the wheel in any way, but they are delivering quality rock albums that deliver hooks, positive feelings, and soundtracks for endless summer nights. Free Energy are keeping rock alive in their own way, and for that, I’m grateful that we have them around. In our hearts, rock is still alive.