Free Energy – Stuck on Nothing [Album Review, SxSW 2010]

by That Guy on March 8, 2010

[thubmnail+icon:+Free+Energy+-+%22Hope+Child%22.jpeg]

Who said indie music couldn’t be catchy and accessible? Certainly not Free Energy, a Philadelphia-based quintet by way of Minneapolis. Their debut album from DFA Records, Stuck on Nothing, is a real rocking beauty. And it’s been earning them considerable ink in the blogosphere, making them one of the big buzz bands of SxSW 2010.

I’m probably looking at things too simply, but sometimes it seems like the only bands that get critical acclaim in the indie music world are the quirky ones who throw a lot of weird noises into their music for the sake of trying to come across as ‘complicated’. Always struck me as an “Emperor’s New Clothes” type thing. Can’t I just listen to some old school, catchy rock and roll every once in a while? Well, thanks to Free Energy, now I can.

The album cover was the first clue that this would be music that was going to stick in my brain – it shows a pair of Chucks with a rainbow on them stepping in bubblegum. My first thought was, “Is this a Punky Brewster DVD, or a rock album?” And these guys had the gumballs to open the album with the sound of COWBELL, for goodness sake. Gotta respect that.

And you know what? They absolutely pull the whole thing off! Stuck on Nothing is outstanding – bright electric guitars, great hooks, drum beats that make you want to shake your rump (they even threw some hand claps in there for Oz), and guitar riffs that make you want to slam a domestic light beer and do a perfectly-tucked cannonball into a pool. Trust me, that description actually makes sense. At least to me it does.

Here are a couple tracks to whet your whistle.

Free Energy – Free Energy (Courtesy of Stereogum)

Free Energy – Hope Child (Courtesy of The Tripwire)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Woody March 8, 2010 at 7:43 am

Good points TDBG and while I doubt this will be one of my favorites, it does serve a purpose. Kind of like a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Not really my favorite food but I always seem to enjoy it.

Ben Sommer March 8, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Agree wholeheartedly – thank god an indie group without the usual gimmicks/attitude is getting attention

denvalk March 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm

This group is awesome…..I would say after the first day and a dozen bands this is the sleeper band. They are worth paying attention to.

chris February 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

at least these guys keep it light

reimage November 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Thanks…

wisefixer February 4, 2012 at 4:14 am

free energy Thanks….

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