The Freeks

Full On

Written by: BV on 30/12/2013 21:24:43

The Freeks may possibly fall into the category of bands mostly unknown to the general masses. Hailing from Southern California, the band, which consists of Ruben Romano (ex-Nebula/Fu Manchu), Jonathan Hall (Backbiter), Tom Davies (ex-Nebula), Esteban Chavez and Hari Hassin (ex-Roadsaw), is a continuation of all that is SoCal stoner-rock and sport quite a few lapses into powerful heavy-psych as well. With this, their second full length album, The Freeks seem hellbent on making more of a name of themselves as many of the songs contain that particular nerve of a band that strives for recognition yet still insists on remaining true to the sound that they feel represent them the best.

Thusly, it really isn’t a surprise that “Big Black Chunk”, the first ‘real’ song on the album which is only preceded by the intro track “Before”, opens with such a powerful riff. This up-tempo onslaught of fuzzed out phaser and wah-laden riffing bears much resemblance to the exploits of aforementioned stoner legends Nebula. - Quite frankly I didn’t expect a reinvention of the genre as a whole, meaning that this ‘Nebula-ish’ sound is much appreciated, given that I have yearned for a suitable replacement ever since that particular band went on a hiatus. What separates The Freeks from the shadow of Nebula however, is the bold way in which The Freeks just launch themselves into utterly spontaneous, almost nerve-wracking lapses of utter psychedelia. In other words, this is no mere stoner-rock album. If anything, it is an overwhelming meld of heavy psychedelia and fuzzed out desert-inspired stoner rock.

With “The Secret Pathway”, The Freeks confirm this suspicion as the psychedelic side slowly takes over significant parts of the soundscape – making for a quite diverse listening experience that I honestly have yet to fully appreciate, as the sheer amount of intriguing sounds require quite a few more thorough listens than what I can muster at this moment. However, around 8 listens in I can confirm that this is indeed a fine piece of work.

Continuing much in the same vein as “The Secret Pathway”, “Vitamin D” offers a near-liquid sounding intro that seems as hallucinogenic as the initial riffing seemed heavy. What surprises me the most is, perhaps, how natural these transitions from heavy grooves to loose psych actually come off. They never really seem forced, nor do they come off particular misplaced as they instead mark a sort dynamic interplay that gives the album, as an entirety, a quite listener-friendly experience which never seems to dull down. Granted, The Freeks haven’t reinvented music as we know it, but they have created an incredibly diverse stoner/psych album which stands as a prime example of how to create vibrant dynamics within a 37-minute time period – thus never reaching any significant lows other than a few stale moments in a couple of songs where the riffing comes off as far too bland for an album of this caliber. These are small grievances however, and don’t seem to take much away from the fact this album is, if I so daresay, a quite solid listening experience that portrays a version of The Freeks that is evolving into something quite unique in its own right. If anything, the album is well named because this album really does seem to go “Full On”.

Download: Big Black Chunk, The Secret Pathway, Vitamin D
For the fans of: Nebula, Fu Manchu, Doublestone
Listen: Facebook

Release date 01.09.2013
Freek Flag Records

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