Review Summary: The band's most current outing only reinforces underrated talent, and seems to see Freak Kitchen's further experimentation with pop music.
In a seemingly endless cycle within the music industry, more and more artists/bands are taking themselves more and more seriously. This subject has been touched upon in a number of reviews on this site alone, reflecting a recurring problem with “popular” music. Now, this isn’t to say that those seeking something a little different are without hope. There are bands out there that aren’t afraid of every little song or lyric coming back to haunt their “prolific” careers. Amongst these bands stands perhaps the most free-flying unit, a band whose skill is only rivalled by their increasingly awkward influences that they weave throughout their often-chaotic work. Hailing from Sweden, Freak Kitchen
– a name that seems to conjure an image of random musical tidbits being cooked up – is a three-piece band with a virtuoso guitarist/vocalist. Mattias “IA” Eklundh is pretty well known to fellow guitar players, both for his skill and unconventional techniques. At the point of Organic
’s recording he’s joined by his second rhythm section, Björn Fryklund on drums and Christer Örtefors on bass. Though less recognisable than their leader, the two have a pretty distinct sound and are more than capable of holding their own with Mattias.
is the band’s most current outing at the time of this review, by this time their strange blend of influences has pretty much been as perfected as it can get, and the album may even show small signs at a more accessible sound. Freak Kitchen
has always been able to write a catchy hook and generally loads their songs with melody, so perhaps the accessibility has been something long in the works. The album hits the ground running with the opener Speak When Spoken To
, a pretty straightforward (for this band) rock song which lightly showcases some of Mattias’ trademark styles. Lyrically it also highlights the bands/Mattias’ love for satire, or simply straightforward shots at society. Lyrics, unfortunately, are not Mr. Eklundh’s forte, and aside from the music itself, add a heavy element of cheese to the band’s overall sound at times. Despite shortcomings with lyricism, the band does tend to use their music as a forum for world issues and general life messages. Still, his vocal abilities are rather impressive given his guitar duties, and he manages to carry his words pretty well. The Rights To You
is a pretty catchy track (a major draw to FK’s music) and again displays more messages and more strange guitar work, and a cheesy quality that keeps everything from being pretentious. The first real standout track on the album may be You Look Bored
, which blends melody with a catchy (how many times have I said that so far?) chorus hook, along with pretty straightforward lyrics. This band is known to lean towards a metal/hard-rock edge to their music amongst their sound collage, and the former comes first in Chest Pain Waltz
. The song features a prominent metalish riff with some gentle breakdowns, and though it does get a bit poppy sounding, keeping the same edgy distortion on the guitar gives the song a driving feel. The solo on this track is also pretty friggin’ intense. The follower, Mussolini Mind
has a pretty pop-rock, radio friendly feel to it, though there isn’t much else to it. Guilt Trip
is a prime example of Freak Kitchen
’s usual lyrical content, this time regarding a degrading society. It isn’t the lyrics at the forefront of this piece, however, as this is some of Mattias’ best guitar work on the album. Satire follows in the form of one of the strongest tracks, Independent Way of Life
. The lyrics are pretty straightforward and somewhat comical, and the song itself is soaked in crunchy yet gentle guitar hooks. There is definitely more of a radio-friendly structure here, something that the band have become experts at weaving into their music over their last few records. There are a few tamer bumps along the way in Heal Me
and Infidelity Ghost
, though both tracks are pretty listenable. The album closes with two more gems, [i]Sob Story, another classic example of a catchy, upbeat Freak Kitchen
tune, and Breathe
. The latter is one of the most different songs for the band, with its slower, melodic delivery and just a damn beautiful tone from Eklundh’s guitar work throughout the piece.
seems to come off as just that: something more raw in a processed existence. For a band with relatively avant-garde compositions, the music is incredibly accessible. The vast array of influences in Freak Kitchen
’s arsenal seem to create a feel that there literally is something for every listener here. The music is pretty carefree, enjoyable, entertaining, and best of all, not up its own ass with messages. Eklundh still has things to say, he just won’t force them down your throat, and you can pick and choose what you want to take from what the lyrics offer. This band always finds a way to squeeze emotion into their tracks without getting too preachy, and as a listener who has heard all the same old whining and political ranting over and over again, this is appreciated.
Independent Way of Life