Freak Genes - III [IMPORT GREEN VINYL] – New LP
Another spring-loaded set from this UK outfit, loads of fun and lots of weirdness, wired and wired for sound, hitting your eardrums with its electric rhythm stick, boinging across the floor like a robot on a pogo stick, up the walls and beeping around the perimeter like Pac-Man gobbling up some digits, changing moods and tempos as it moves between cuts, bouncing back in time to visit Syd Barrett, leapfrogging around the second half of the 1970s, thumping the rubber into Akron and ricocheting out to NYC for some no-wave, kangarooing across the pond for some new wave downunder, boomeranging back home for some post punk, quite a bit different than the last one, and quite a bit like it, if I recall correctly, this one maybe a bit more full on with the synthesizered sounds, another essential listen from Drunken Sailor. -- winch (green noise)
"The always wonderful Freak Genes are back with what is already their third album in 20 months. On Qwak Qwak, you could hear Andrew and Charlie flirting with electronic instrumentation. III (out on Drunken Sailor Records) finds them all-in on synth-pop. Think more 154 era Wire, less Pink Flag. That's quite a leap for inside of two years, but in my business we call that a "natural progression" (Wire themselves did the same thing!). Everything that was charming, wonderfully weird, playfully non-conforming, and non-conventionally hooky about the duo's first two albums remains fully in tact. Perhaps the more cohesive synth-pop sound makes this particular album feel less all over the place. But I can assure you that it is still somewhat all over the place! The one-sheet promises "garage rock meets Gary Numan", and tracks like "Get Ready To Go" and "Strange Light" deliver exactly that. You can pick up the influences immediately yet still recognize distinct qualities of these guys' other bands. They are never afraid to experiment, but they always come back to writing memorable tunes with hooks. Meanwhile songs such as "Breach" and "Now It's Done" demonstrate that even synth pop era Freak Genes have not totally left post-punk behind. And if your favorite part of every Freak Genes album is coming across a song that makes you go "I don't know what the hell this is, but I sure like it!", "Stitches" and "Close Up" are oddball tracks that you will surely enjoy. There will never be such a thing as two Freak Genes songs that sound the same. Is it just me, or could "Nothing In Between Us" pass for one of The Cure's "poppy" songs?! I can't fully put my finger on what delights me so much about Freak Genes. I think it's that they've made me fall in love with post-punk and new wave again. This was music I grew up on, yet I've been mostly lukewarm on its modern adherents. Charlie and Andrew take those influences and actually have fun with them. Even if there's a dark turn or two on III, it remains a joyful musical creation that's an absolute pleasure to listen to. Originally inspired by the idea of recording misfit songs, Freak Genes have become a misfit band (and that's a lower case "misfit"....these guys are probably 20 albums away from attempting horror punk). And I hope that's what they continue to be forever." Fast and Louder blog.
Out on 22nd march. First 100 on Transparent Green.