Album review: Free Energy hones confidence with sweet solos, poppy lyrics in 'Love Sign'
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 23:01
Free Energy doesn’t try to be anything it is not. There is no inflated desire in the band’s music to create art that inspires elitist commentary or profound art music. Free Energy is true rock ‘n’ roll — composed of grooving rhythms embellished with candy-like solo guitar riffs, topped off with endearing lyricism.
Coming off a supremely catchy 2010 debut, “Stuck On Nothing,” power-pop outfit Free Energy comes to us with “Love Sign,” a collection of equally poppy tunes.
Nearly every song on “Love Sign” has the same high-power energy. In this respect, Free Energy proves itself arena-ready. For instance, on album opener “Electric Fever,” vocalist Paul Sprangers guides a chorus that demands a chant: “Turn it on / Turn it up / Baby, keep on running free.” Fittingly, these lines are followed up with a continuous “whoah-oh.” In the same fashion, “Girls Want Rock” uses the same thick chords to develop its riffs. Sprangers can also be counted on to delve into a deluge of “na-na-na’s” for mass enjoyment.
The lyricism of “Love Sign” — and Free Energy for that matter — cannot be praised for its depth. In fact, when Sprangers is not supplying simple filler in the form of “la’s” and “na’s,” it is not too difficult to predict what he is going to sing next. But the texture of Free Energy’s tunes should garner praise. The music that underlies Sprangers’ giddy vocal track is that of classic rock ‘n’ roll. Lead guitarist Scott Wells proves himself as an accomplished rock guitarist — the power-pop twang meshes perfectly with each song. This is most notable in “Hangin’” and “Backscratcher.”
For the most part, Free Energy uses all the same devices on “Love Sign” that were established on its first record. With the exception of some added electronics on a few songs, the band has laid out all the same techniques: amped-up riffs, sweet solos and poppy lyrics. This is a mark of confidence — Free Energy does not have to make any huge, artistic shifts to make a good second record. Free Energy knows what it is doing, and it is doing it well. That is just fine.