Free Energy
Stuck On Nothing


4.0
excellent

Review

by AggravatedYeti USER (46 Reviews)
March 23rd, 2010 | 88 replies | 9,163 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: How much do you like 70s rock?

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Maturity is a special thing, among all its boundless possibilities, from the realizations that your youth beliefs were in fact as naive and foolish as that inkling in the back of your head had suggested. To finally finding out that, people in essence, aren’t that bad, or for some, are justifiably terrible. With maturity though, like so many things in life, one cannot put a price, or literal measure on how “adult” someone or is or in truth, how mature. Furthermore, this appropriates the need for a scale, of just what is and isn’t mature. That’s not even considering its total worth, such as -- why would someone desire maturity? What are the benefits? Why should you change? What is really wrong with acting youthful? Nothing, if anything we at times need to be reminded in our aging that there was a time in our lives where the most important thing was the weekend, and your day was determined by when and if you’ve finished your homework. As adults it is something we have the tendency to lack from time to time. Enter art, especially music, mediums in which humans are motivated -- nay, encouraged to question what our purpose is, further more its point to our growth and if anything, try to help us (not to mention the artist themselves) find a certain meaning in the level of monotony one can experience when you’re simply just trying to make your way. To call Free Energy “grown-up” or more so, to exclaim their James Murphy helmed (anti)DFA debut Stuck On Nothing as a “mature” album is almost missing the point. This is a record built on a basis of youth-to-manhood, but not in the same way some may find with other growing-up epics. Through Stuck On Nothing, Free Energy proclaim themselves almost as a bar-band, presenting an album dripping with catchy, high flying jammy guitar licks, classic power-chord progression, warm keys and a cleanly mixed lead singer. But all allusions to vets like The Hold Steady and Spoon, as well as not-as-talented peers pretty much stops there. Where as the like of Kings of Leon and The Whigs try too hard for the stadium lights, while Craig Finn and Britt Daniels just are too scared -- Free Energy are the quintessential good ole’boys with a brain, an English degree and a complex yet anthemic sound. Also it doesn’t hurt that Stuck On Nothing may just be the best “classic rock” record you’re going to hear for a long, long time.

Prior to Free Energy, guitarist Scott Wells and singer Paul Sprangers were part of an almost equally retro band coined ‘Hockey Night,’ and soon enough after moving over to Philly they caught the ears of the LCD man himself James Murphy, and he nabbed the duo and brought them promptly to recording. This wouldn’t even have been anything more than a specific name drop of the good friends and connected arms Free Energy have fallen into -- except Stuck On Nothing wouldn’t be anything nearly close to what is it without Murphy’s production. The band themselves stating; “we just weren’t getting the right sounds,” prior to their work with James, and it shows. You can hear Murphy all over the record, the push of the reverb on what would normally be very clean guitars, the superb use of string arrangements and brass flourishes, blatant psychedelia -- it all brings a sense of wonder and the serene to what could normally be chocked up as a early Weezer meets late Spoon knock off. Which wouldn’t be too far of a stretch considering the music plays up its holds in early 90s alt-rock and grunge almost as much it does to the ever abundant cues to brit-pop and the E Street shuffle. Sprangers as well is a bit of a secret hid up sleeve, starting off the album with leadoff single “Free Energy,” at first sounding like little more than some dude who really hopes he sounds like Rivers Cuomo. But by the time you hit the songs guitar noodled end, Paul has morphed into some prophetic version of James Murphy (ironic almost), Tom Petty and The Boss. Which is almost a concrete representation of the album as a whole, as in it gets better as you listen. “Free Energy,” no matter how much “I’m the first single!” it may plead, is the albums weakest track. Which is phenomenal.

Through the jazz sax and melancholy mishap of “Dream City,” where Sprangers yearns for a world where “you know who you are” and “your heart is feeling lighter.” To the string infused rockers “All I Know” and “Bad Stuff,” the latter finding Sprangers calling out “for all you hopeless romantics!” just to question “was there a time in your life without a war?” later on the glorious “Young Hearts.” Free Energy express an accessible air about themselves in their music, but the massive hooks and easy-going vibe don't drown out the well written album underneath. Truthfully, its this quality of honesty sans pretension along with experimentation that gives Stuck On Nothing such replay-ability and an almost prolific quality to it. Sprangers projecting a David Bowie like quality to himself, not to mention the rest of the band and music. Skipping the hoity-toity while employing their studio tricks, but still seemingly calling you to arms. When brilliant album closer “Wild Winds” reaches its ending bridge consisting of chants of “you’re not alone!” you ***ing believe them. The words themselves holding a certain history in the rock cannon, Bowie expressing the same comforting cry many years ago, but here, it finds new breadth. In the hands of Free Energy, its an expression of vigor and motivation, not consolation. They’re not reminding you to take solace in the fact -- but rather, to grab your pitchforks and do something about it. Like many of their battle cries, and sociological musings its built for the air waves, but it will probably never reach them. Which is sad really, because by all accounts this was recorded in 1986, scrapped, remixed in like 93 and then released to lauded praise and massive sales. Or, well, you can only hope.



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user ratings (30)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
AggravatedYeti
March 23rd 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is surprisingly solid -- go DFA.

you can get it in digital only as well until May 4th buuuutt, its like $5 that way and completely worth it.

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2010



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

are you saying girls can tell is 70s rock

AggravatedYeti
March 23rd 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm saying it sounds more like this than their other records.

but if it pisses you off...

yes, of course.

Kiran
Emeritus
March 23rd 2010



5992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

terrible review, just dreadful, worst i've ever seen, i'll vote out of pity, etc.

gonna get this

Ponton
Emeritus
March 23rd 2010



5775 Comments


haha, great review. massive paragraphs seemed daunting at first, but this has a nice flow and reads easily. Pos.

Heard a few stracks off of this, and it sounds solid.

Digging: Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

AggravatedYeti
March 23rd 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man ^

and yeah I think this would be right up your alley.

EVedder27
March 23rd 2010



6088 Comments


hmmm this sounds like mike allen music

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2010



17118 Comments


MythBusters proved that free energy doesn't exist!

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

AggravatedYeti
March 23rd 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

quit ruinin muh hopes n dreams AdamThomas! >|<

Oh this is mike allen music if there ever was any.



EVedder27
March 23rd 2010



6088 Comments


Album is really fun. Nice find Yeti.

AggravatedYeti
March 23rd 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn right!
yeah I'll prob make this my first offcial bump by the time the summer hits.
just feels like it'll be that kind of record.

EVedder27
March 24th 2010



6088 Comments


BANG POP

AggravatedYeti
March 24th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

when does this searching stop?

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2010



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i guess i'll get this. thanks yeti70rock.com

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2010



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

god of course i love this

EVedder27
April 8th 2010



6088 Comments


The weather has been perfect for this lately

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2010



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

love dark trance

EVedder27
April 8th 2010



6088 Comments


I think that's my favorite. That and Light Love.

Jemidu06
April 8th 2010



115 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yea total summer record, just stupid fun, but oh...what fun

AggravatedYeti
April 8th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeessss more Rudy Klapper approval :D

All I Know - Bad Stuff - Dark Trance
such a killer mid section.



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