Free Energy Love Sign(DFA) Buy it from Insound
Free Energy have gotten off to a pretty charmed start as a group. They have been compared to Journey and their first release was produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. With these kinds of accolades and attention the first time around, there's sure to be some pressure for the Philadelphia group to build on that success for their sophomore effort.
Unfortunately, their second album is underwhelming. Love Sign is a short and sweet affair, clocking in at just under 40 minutes. While some songs are definitely catchy, the entire album feels like one quick sugar rush that is gone as soon as the last note fades. There aren't any songs that show the band progressing in any particular direction. The songs are all very nice and some are quite pretty, but they never really do anything different, the formula is the same throughout. It's one of those albums where you have trouble naming individual songs. A lot of simple pop-rock without any discernable shake up.
It's this vapidness that ultimately wears on the listener; as good as the pop-rock on Love Sign is (and it can be very catchy in places), it doesn't really offer any new words of insight or illumination. It's the same story repeated before Shakespeare, without any wrinkles or plot twists: there's a girl out there somewhere, the singer wants to woo her. There's a couple different chord arrangements thrown in here and there, but the whole affair is basic pop-rock.
Songs like Electric Fever and Street Survivor are catchy enough, and the band clearly has musicianship to spare, but the lyrics are vacant. There is no there, there.
While I do appreciate the band's earnestness and the subtle hooks of some of the tracks, there is not really any kind of exploration heard on this release. I'm not asking for a Mars Volta-type sonic maze, but changing it up just a little here and there would have done wonders for Love Sign. As it sits, the songs all bleed together into one melted clump of an album. It's sweet but ultimately too forgettable. That isn't to say that this is really a bad album, just one that is out of your mind the second you pull out your headphones. I liked most of the songs, but they lack anything compelling enough to keep listening.
Free Energy has tons of talent and star power backing them. It's a safe bet they will rebound nicely, but this particular album has them sounding like a cover band who has decided to branch out on to their own. These songs just lack that certain oomph to separate Free Energy from the thousands of groups who have sang about girls before.14 January, 2013 - 22:47 — John Grimley