Review: Jack Foley
ADAM Freeland has made a name for himself as both a prolific
Dj and mixer (his most recent work included a makeover of the
White Stripes' Seven Nation Army), but found his work behind the
decks wasn't saying anything.
Hence, he formed Freeland, the band, much in the same way as
David Holmes formed The Free Association. But whereas the latter
turned to San Francisco in search of collaborators, Freeland takes
in a bald drummer, a soul diva, and, more curiously, two crazy
Chileans, who add some distinctive guitars.
The result is a gutsy firecracker of an album which has cult
classic written all over it.
Now and Them is the type of dance-orientated album that encapsulates
just about every musical genre, from techno to house, and from
hip-hop to pop, as well as some breakbeat thrown in for good measure.
It is little wonder, then, to find that not everything hits as
strongly as it might, but there is no getting away from the fact
that the album has plenty to say and, as such, achieves one of
its primary objectives.
Its take-no-prisoners attitude is laid out within the first few
moments of opening track and current single, We Want Your Soul,
which is described by the Dj himself as an unapologetic rant against
'the destructive side of consumer culture'.
As such, it contains plenty of pot-shots at America, while spewing
lyrics such as 'we want your pills, your grass, your tits, your
ass, your laughs, your balls, we want it all'.
Second track, Mind Killer, which was inspired by the line,
'Fear is the mind killer', from Dune, rates among the finest on
the album, with its rocky guitars and sweeping beats and breaks,
while the techno-laden Burn The Clock comes laden with
forceful metallic guitars and a dream-like female vocal, which
drifts in and out, lending it an atmospheric feel.
Big Wednesday begins as though it has been lifted from
the Blade Runner soundtrack, with its Vangelis-inspired electronica,
before easing into a mellow Aphex Twin-wannabe; while Supernatural
Thing succeeds in bringing out the best in Alison David's
soulful vocals, which evoke memories of Shirley Bassey's Bond
theme, or her Propellerheads collaboration. The second half of
the track, which speeds things up well, is particularly strong.
Of the less memorable moments, L.I.F.E. doesn't really
do enough to prevent it from becoming tedious, while the final
track, Nowism, which fuses elements of house with reggae,
isn't strong enough to bring the album to the rousing finale it
But the mixture of styles throughout the album serves to ensure
that no two tracks sound the same, thereby keeping the listener
on their toes until the very end.
It mainly works to the album's advantage, but the downside is
that it's difficult to categorize, making the less risk-taking
unlikely to give it a whirl.
But for those in search of something a little more challenging,
this is a suitably sophisticated debut that contains enough highlights
to make it worth recommending.
1. We Want Your Soul
2. Mind Killer
3. Burn The Clock
4. Big Wednesday
5. Heel n Toe
6. Physical World
7. Supernatural Thing
8. Reality 3-D