Review Summary: Somebody buy these kids some god damn studio time
There's an all-too-relevant line in a song off of Owen's At Home With…
LP in which a crestfallen yet vindicated Mike Kinsella asserts that "free beer and basement shows don't mean you've made it.
" Despite the statement's nearly incontestable accuracy, anyone who has ever stood beside their comrades in a dim cellar, red solo cups in hand, drinking in the youth and vigor from the night's assortment of vagabond musicians, knows that it isn't so easy to accept as true. After all, finding oneself in such a place amongst these all-too-familiar strangers feels as if it means something; feels like involvement, even belonging, in a scene of ringing ears, remorseless hangovers, and inexhaustible adolescence. Or maybe Kinsella is right all along...
See, Freak Out
is one of those
nights, in that
scene. It is the two kids who call themselves Episodes and their unabashed rendering of where they find solace in the Saturday morning hours that barely precede sunrise. Okay, fine, it's a live recording, and a shit one at that. Songs cut out before they're supposed to. Miscommunications and off-timings between drummer and guitarist litter the twenty-three minute recording. Cymbal crashes over-saturate the soundboard and wash out key moments in the performance.
Yet, Freak Out
is but an ephemeral taste of all that Episodes can and should be. It is you and I and all the kids we've never met but already know, standing on that cold underground concrete, knowing that we're alive but not entirely sure what to make of it. From the eerie fade-in of 'Apollo' to the singer's plea to "check us out online" at the end of 'Invoke', which might be the only intelligible words on the recording, Freak Out
is the audio manifestation of a night that won't really matter but that's worth smiling about anyway. Musically, it is some odd breed of psychedelic stoner-pop, complete with post-rock sensibilities and a charismatic frontman completely aware that his vast soundscapes aren't enough. Most of his shouting is drowned out by the music before being able to impact the listener, yes, but perhaps that just adds to the moment-driven feel of the whole ordeal. The majestic wall of sound throughout 'Photophobophobia' is something worth getting lost in, even if it means being soon after yanked away as the applause of about seven night-warriors closes out the track. Basically, Episodes is two kids with all the right ideas and inspirations, immense in potential but continually marred by its utter lack of quality and production. Still, this can be taken in different ways on Freak Out
, the better of which involves the listener forgiving the duo's lack of time and recording equipment, and instead remembering what it's like to feel young and alive. Think you can remember?