Naming yourself after a favorite Frank Zappa album lends some definite connotation to your sound, and what you’re all about. But the beauty in Toronto’s Absolutely Free comes in hearing their self-titled debut album, released this week via Lefse Records, and understanding these guys are much more than just stoned out Zappa fans. No, this is clearly a very talented foursome we’re dealing with, and they appear they have much to say with their often tranquilizing psychedelia.
This group got a solid start together with indie punk five-piece DD/MM/YYYY, who broke up in 2011, after 10 years together. Following the split four members reconnected as Absolutely Free and went on to release the 12″ singles of “UFO”/”Glass Tassle” in 2012 and “On The Beach”/”Clothed Woman, Sitting” in 2013. On the latter of these, both singles exceed 7 minutes in length, and “Clothed Woman, Sitting” goes back and forth between a walk through the park and a headlong spiral into squealing oblivion.
Now we have the band’s official debut on our hands, and it’s pretty lovely, partly in that fellow Canadian Mike Haliechuk, of Fucked Up, produced it. I was really drawn to “Beneath the Air”, which you can listen to, below, because it reminds me of The Chemical Brothers hit “Let Forever Be”, from 1997’s Surrender, a song I considered one of the best of the ’90s. The rest of the new album goes in several different directions, but together it’s a really complete piece of work that offers emotions of every kind. Absolutely Free draw electro dance comparisons to fellow Canadians Caribou, but they also have an appealing indie pop feel to them, as well as a more morose alt rock sound. They are from from a band that can be sandwiched into just one genre definition, and that suits me just fine.