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Absolutely Free: Absolutely Free

Album Notes

The guys in Absolutely Free are either voracious consumers of all sorts of free-flowing, unpredictable tributaries of rock and pop music who are highly skilled at repurposing previously explored sounds into something almost new, or they are just really lucky and happened upon their amalgamated style by chance. Regardless of how they got there, the Toronto trio's first album is an impressive debut that shows the band to be masters of taking psychedelic, experimental, and simply interesting music of many eras and delivering them all wrapped up in one shimmering package that's easy to absorb. Breaking it down a little more, one hears traces of old sonic explorers like Pink Floyd, new cosmic guitar magicians like Tame Impala, weirdos like the Flaming Lips and Animal Collective, '70s synth pioneers like Cluster, and modern trance dance acts like Studio. The trio weave all these elements into a shifting, swirling mix with a great deal of skill and a very light touch, and if it's not as challenging as the music they draw their inspiration from, at least it's always very listenable. The band mostly sticks to the soft and dreamlike side of psych, with long songs like "Burred Lens" and "Spiral Jetty" slowly unspooling in an echo chamber of synths and muted percussion, and it creates a mood highly conducive to zoning out and letting the music wash over you in a pleasant fashion. When they pick up the pace a little with songs like the Motorik "Vision's" or the pulsing "Earth II," they manage to keep the mood intact, which is the sign of a band that is in total control of its sound and vision. The only time the band sounds a little too derivative is on a couple of very Tame Impala-y psych pop songs ("Beneath the Air" and "My Dim Age"), but even these aren't really a problem because they do a really good job copping that style. On their next album, it might be nice for Absolutely Free to try to stake out some original territory, but for this record anyway, their magpie style suits them just fine. ~ Tim Sendra



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