Review Summary: Quirky, humorous and melodic yet ultimately lacks enough character to make the album memorable."A corny little heavy-pop-rock-Latin-world-jazz-avant-garde-metal-blues-record straight from hell!"
Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? That’s how band leader Mattias Eklundh “labels” the music that Freak Kitchen composes, and as much of a mouthful as it is, it quite accurately shows the wide range of influences that creep into the band’s music from time to time. The Swedish 3 piece has been around since 1992, garnering a cult following of ardent fans that are especially awestruck by Mattias’ abilities on the guitar, and with good reason. Virtuosity is not alien to Mattias and the other band members, however they mostly avoid being excessively ostentatious and prefer to focus on songwriting, especially evident on this eponymous album.
The album is very much inclined towards Rock with a reasonable amount of pop influence in the vocal melodies and hints of jazz, Latin, and African music being on display as well. Oddly enough the combination isn’t difficult to get accustomed to and as a result the overall vibe is pretty relaxed, with there being a lot of catchy melodies you can bob your head along to. It feels like this album would fit somewhat comfortably into the Mainstream Rock World with simplistic song structures, catchy melodies, pop tinged vocal melodies, and the non-abrasive guitar tone. There is some experimentation present with various “non-traditional” Rock instruments being included on the album including the saxophone, mandolins, and banjos. These instruments aid in making the music slightly more dynamic and blend in with ease.
The band members’ performances might not take you aback, mainly because the music isn’t really that demanding, but they fulfill the requirements of the compositions and the chemistry between the members is good. Mattias’ solos are tasteful, whether on the electric guitar or acoustic, with his habit of making the guitar squeal being particularly interesting.
Mattias is a man with a sense of humour and he feels like sharing that in a creative manner to those music aficionados who have gripes with the shallowness of mainstream pop. The lyrics cover topics including rebelliousness, teen insecurities, and even haircuts in a satirical manner. The genius isn’t only in the lyricism but the way the message is conveyed. The vocal melodies are intentionally done with such zeal and passion reminiscent of most modern mainstream songs that the absurdity of the lyrics would be lost on a casual listener who wasn’t paying attention, especially regarding how proud the singer is of his new haircut, or how he’s accusing a friend of scratching his pubic hair. This makes it the ideal parody of the pop standard.
The songwriting is catchy and the lyricism makes you smirk often, however these same aspects eventually lead to the albums downfall. The compositions aren't daring or challenging enough and the consistent lyrics and vocal melodies can stifle you from taking the music too seriously over the course of the album. The song structures and melodies feel very similar and as a result the album starts to wear off pretty quickly. However if you want to have an enjoyable candid music listening experience then this album might be worth checking out.
• My New Haircut
• Broken Food