Sunday, 30 August 2015

Album: Freudia - Spirit Bear

Freudia Spirit Bear Wisconsin Green Bay

Freudia, 'Vanity Beach'

Info: Just released last week, from Green Bay, Wisconsin, comes the second album from Freudia, Spirit Bear, the follow up to last years Cornucopia which came out in September, 2014. Scarily only in his late teens, multi-instrumentalist Nick Williams has created an album that spans some of the best sounds of 60's folk, electric rock n' roll and chamber pop with a nice dash of jazz.

Opening with 'Spirit I Am', a track that echoes a more bolshy and modern take on a version of the bossa nova of João Gilberto and Stan Getz on 'The Girl From Ipanema'. Third track 'Warehouse' has a nice, sharp and raw tinny sound to its drums, vocals falling somewhere between Interpol's Paul Banks and a long lost deeper-toned Everly Brother. Then 'P. Rosso' happens and it's arresting, nowhere to be seen on the horizon as you've travelled through the first three tracks. It's straight in with solid drumming and percussion that would make Buddy Miles crack a smile, a smoking hot guitar riff and delicious hammond-style keyboards, two minutes of mania followed by a sudden and soft-landing. 

Freudia, 'Another'

The next track, 'Another' (above) is a joyous piece of music, with stand-out trumpet playing and crooning vocals, there's a hint of The Flaming Lips or Mercury Rev in both the music and singing and it's crescendo as all of the instruments tie together at the final third is very satisfying. Easily my favourite number on the album is the sixth track (very top), 'Vanity Beach'. Starting out with its playful acoustic strumming and Beach Boys harmonies, you're on a Californian beach as the sun sets, at least for a little while until there's an elongated pause, and then, magic. It's lo-fi Clapton blues-rock heaven for me, keyboards holding their notes while the slow drum beat maintains the lazy mood alongside the bluesy electric guitar-playing. 

Freudia, 'P. Rosso'

'Home for the Holidays' enters late-1960's psych territories, reminiscent of The Moody Blues, simple cymbal playing and again the hammond effects resurface just before it enters into a cacophany of chaotic sound emulating theatrical seventies prog-rock. The album's title track towards the end again reaches into Flaming Lips territories, see-sawing between crescendo and calm. Freudia bids you farewell with a fitting concluding track on Spirit Bear, 'Worth', it's like a cheesy band on board a cruise playing the final song of their repertoire before diners depart for the night, you are being waved goodbye as you drop your napkin on the table and push in your chair. I'll be listening to this album for a long time, and while I detest associating age with musical talent, I just can't help but admire the quality and natural feel of Spirit Bear's protagonist, Nick Williams, who has created a superb album by any measurement.

Spirit Bear is available as a free download here on the Disco Yeti independent label, but if you enjoyed it and think you'll be listening to it more than once or twice feel free to donate to future music here.

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