released May 4th, 2010

from the album - Free Energy

from all music

Free Energy formed in the aftermath of the Minneapolis-based indie rock group Hockey Night's tumultuous breakup in 2007. The band coalesced in the two years following the split, when former Hockey Night members Scott Wells and Paul Sprangers relocated to Philadelphia, teamed up with Geoff Bucknum, Nicholas Shuminsky, and Evan Wells, and made a batch of freewheeling indie rock tunes in the vein of glam and arena rock acts like Thin Lizzy and T. Rex. While he was never an official member of the band, LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy worked with Sprangers and Wells on Free Energy's first recordings, both as a producer and, in the band's early days, as a bassist. Free Energy's debut 7" single, Free Energy/Something in Common, was released on Murphy's label, DFA Records, in 2009. A three-track EP followed that fall, and a full-length album titled Stuck on Nothing was released in March of 2010.

album review

Free Energy is a quintet from Philadelphia, but they sound like they hail from Rock City, USA. Their debut album, Stuck on Nothing, is textbook rock & roll from the soaring guitar riffs, arena-rocking chants, and numbskull lyrics to the string sections, heavy grooves, and carefree attitude. Itís all done lovingly and with no jokes, crafted to sound like it should have been beaming through a tiny transistor radio in 1975, or pumping through a boom box in 1983. There are nods to Thin Lizzy, T. Rex, and mainstream AOR of the '70s, influences taken from power pop, soft rock, and epic metal, and, most importantly, they're great songs from top to bottom. The lead-off track, "Free Energy," would have been a huge radio hit in the late '70s, the only reason it isnít in 2010 is because radio has changed (see also the Pooh Sticks in the '90s). The rest of the album would have filled out a block of good-time AOR jams with ease. The only clue that this record came out in 2010 is the lead vocals: Paul Sprangers sings with a laconic ease that wouldnít have existed before Pavement. His lazy phrasing and slightly pitch-challenged style donít wreck the illusion, though, they just add a human element in a way that a singer full of chest-hair and bravado could never have done. It certainly does nothing to detract from the uplifting, sunny vibe, nor does it make the tunes any less hooky and fun. This light touch and the innocence the bandmates bring to the album serve them well on the two tracks ("Hope Child" and "Wild Wind"), that end the album on an earnest and uplifting note that would have sounded corny otherwise. Stuck on Nothing isnít going to change rock & roll history even a little, but for a good time, give the album a listen and you wonít be disappointed.

Track Listing

1 Free Energy Dude Bros. 4:40
2 Dream City Dude Bros. 3:19
3 Bang Pop Dude Bros. 3:39
4 All I Know Dude Bros. 4:21
5 Bad Stuff Dude Bros. 5:42
6 Dark Trance Dude Bros. 5:15
7 Young Hearts Dude Bros. 2:41
8 Light Love Dude Bros. 3:44
9 Hope Child Dude Bros. 4:22
10 Wild Winds Dude Bros. 6:26