[Album Review] Absolutely Free- Absolutely Free
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by Mark Anthony Brennan


Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Label: Arts & Crafts

The artsy outfit Absolutely Free never seem rushed. In the same way that they have taken their time to develop the band’s career (it has taken them over two years to get around to putting out their debut full-length) they allow their songs all the time they need to do their thing. As a result, many of the tracks on ‘Absolutely Free’ start out by wandering around aimlessly (this is not a bad thing at all, it’s very pleasant) before gradually taking on some semblance of structure. A prime example of this is the closing track “Spiral Jetty” which starts off in a very ambient vein with looping synths. The keyboards start to coalesce around a recognizable beat and are joined by vocals that are so disconnected and airy that they could be dispersed by the slightest of breezes. Partway through the piece, however, Matt King’s drums kick in and provide an anchor to the entire affair.

The balance of the tracks on the album are a variation on this theme, with songs like “Earth II” and “Windows of Time” never taking on any form of solid structure at all and the likes of “My Dim Age” being more conventionally electropop from the outset. Although the guys are never too self-indulgent for popular consumption they also deftly avoid the trap of becoming too radio-friendly. Even the afore-mentioned “My Dim Age” is far from routine, sporting some intriguing change-ups and unusual instrumentation.

In the Canadian indie world the track “Beneath the Air” was one of the sounds of 2014. With its irresistible, vaguely South American, rhythm and King’s signature trippy vocals, it is the crown jewel of the album. Having said that, it is still only one of many gems on a must-have record for anyone who likes their synthpop sophisticated and sparklingly original.