Toronto based trio Absolutely Free present their self-titled debut LP following the release of well received singles ‘UFO’, ‘Glass Tassel’ and ‘On The Beach’. Making music that is largely based on instrumentation and compositional structure, Absolutely Free are no strangers to musical experimentation, and here they have delved into more hypnotic, neo-psychedelic terriroty compared to their last venture as members of the now defunct punk band DD/MM/YYY. With myriad influences ranging from Bollywood to Krautrock and Phil Spektor to Gang of Four, ‘Absolutely Free’ promises a diverse collection of music.
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Absolutely Free is a Toronto trio who all previously played in DD/MM/YYYY and now peddle a dreamy and stripped back electronic alt-pop sound. The press release says "fragments of Phil Spector, Kraftwerk, Terry Riley, Gang of Four and modern neo-psychedelia" but to me it tastes more like a mixture of Clinic, Hot Chip and Washed Out - a breathy, inoffensively melodic haze-pop full of smudged analogue synth wibble, dinky drum machines mixed with live drums, deadpan vocals and kraut-ish repetition. Which is to say that it's a very pleasant listen, with slow melodies bobbing along on even slower drones, synths looping away mechanically to themselves while the vocals are a distracted wisp of ghostly harmony. The album takes a while to gather momentum and at places, particularly on side A, it can seem a little safe and featureless.
They up the pace a little on side B, though, with a more energetic approach beginning on 'My Dim Age', where the Spector influence can really be heard with some dramatically reverbed vocals booming out over a pounding beat, sprawling Hank Marvin guitars that burst into shoegazey splinters and an almost-cheesy synth melody whose brightness cuts through the sonic fog like a knife. The shivery krautrock of 'Vision's' follows this with some bustling drums, cool little synth patterns and urgently chanted vocals, which again burst into a bright and energetic chorus with a few bits of cheeky sampledelic weirdness. Even though the dreamy and repetitive sound they make does lend itself to more gentle and subtle numbers, the weird tension on these two tracks between that blurred robotic sound and the bristlingly energetic delivery makes them stand out a clear highlights on an otherwise functional slice of understated krauty dronepop.
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