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Album review: Free Energy, "Stuck on Nothing"


By Allison Stewart

Philadelphia band Free Energy won the hipster lottery when LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy signed on to produce its official debut, "Stuck on Nothing." "Nothing" sounds like what 2010 musical savants with very large record collections think roller derbies sounded like in 1978. It's compact and speedy and free of irony, with hand-clap beats and cowbells and a carefully applied layer of nostalgia, its songs perfectly constructed for inclusion on the soundtrack to "Whip It" or "The Runaways."

LISTEN: "Free Energy" - Free Energy

(Continue reading this review, after the jump.)

All of which is another way of saying: It's pretty great. Everyone involved seems to have been more interested in finding different ways to assemble old ideas than in actually coming up with any new ones. As a result, "Nothing" is a black hole consuming every influence it comes across: The Ramones, '70s AM radio rock acts such as Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Strokes (most emphatically), Spoon, even vaguely remembered acts like Superdrag.

"Bang Pop" seems not to have been suggested by Weezer so much as channeled directly through it; "Young Hearts" sounds like the result of a one-night stand between the Ramones and Steely Dan; and "Free Energy" carries on a great, long-neglected tradition in which bands named songs after themselves. "Free Energy" isn't a statement of purpose, exactly, but because it's cheery, hook-y and doesn't seem to make much sense (something about making out with the wind?) it couldn't be more appropriate.

Recommended Tracks: "Hope Child," "Free Energy," "Dream City"

By David Malitz  |  March 30, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: Free Energy  
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