It’s no easy feat for a group to live up to their name within seconds of the needle finding it’s groove, but Absolutely Free seem to manage. Their self-titled debut, Absolutely Free., begins with a dense overture led by a droning organ and sporadic audio samples, but a fluffy, cotton-like voice serves as the hook in our cheek. Just as our swim upstream begins to feel counter-productive, a bevy of bells and airy vocals blossom into a wonderfully chipper tune entitled “Beneath The Air.” As the album progresses, we get a sense of what the Canadian-grown gentleman had in mind when the project was named. Picking up the pieces of the defunct pop outfit MM/DD/YYYY, Absolutely Free aimed to push in a direction without limits of expectation or genre and the debut does well to create a special nook for them on the ever-growing mass of Psych-Pop Mtn.
The group does not hesitate to explore the open space, filling it with ambient synthesizers alongside cavernously reverbed vocals. While “Striped Light” and "Burred Lens” serve a dizzying dose of heady psychedelia, the second half of the album steers us in a funkier direction. Picking up on grooving basslines and quick-paced drums like a sugar-high Jagwar Ma running into a hazy Jacco Gardner, “My Dim Age” and “Vision’s” do their part to revive any listeners who chose to catch a snooze. Even still, little time is wasted before returning to the boundary-less tract of the bubbling closer labeled “Spiral Jetty.”
It’s an unabashedly explorative debut whose sense of limit is not yet realized and we can hope it stays that way. Receiving production treatment from Mike Halichuk the album was released under Lefse Records and will be toured nationally through November. Those of us in L.A. can catch them at The Echo on November 28th while you northern-dwellers in San Francisco can attend their show at Rickshaw Stop November 29th.