Album Reviews

Freeland – Now And Them

(Marine Parade) UK release date: 15 September 2003

Freeland - Now And Them Freeland are described in their press release as “two nutty Chileans, a bald wizard drummer, a soul diva and a DJ.” That DJ, of course, is Adam Freeland, highly respected as a breakbeat DJ and mixer of the blockbusting Tectonics compilation when Big Beat was the style of the moment.

Freeland’s band is a different kettle of fish however, with much more to say and a direct, no-nonsense way of saying it. The opener and single We Want Your Soul is a case in point: a sinister, robotic female voice intoning, “Your pills, your grass, your tits, your ass, your laughs, your balls, we want it all,” over a monster beat. Then there’s the Bill Hicks sample: “Go back to bed America, your country is in control again.” Surprisingly this went down well when the band toured the States.

The paranoia and anger continues in the granite structure of the Frank Herbert inspired Mind Killer. After this Burn The Clock gives a mild respite, although the guitar lines hint at trouble beneath the surface. The stop-start beats of Heel ‘n’Toe feature Juice and Toastie of New Flesh, with an uplifting vocal of “punk, rock, reggae, roll.”

Stravinsky underpins the Physical World with a haunting string sample from the Rite Of Spring, and then comes Alison David’s big moment in the modern soul of Supernatural Thing. This woman has a fantastic voice. When she sings about interplanetary and  extraordinary goings-on you feel like the subject of the song. For the closing trio Freeland resorts to more instrumental tracks with his breakbeat sensibilities coming through.

With a live show that’s receiving rave write-ups, Adam Freeland has found his vehicle fora personal message, dealing with anti-consumerism, fear and a conditioned, robotic society. It’s the album we’ve been wanting to hear from The Chemical Brothers, who Freeland comfortably surpasses as one of the most distinctive and vital UK dance artists around. More power to his elbow!

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More on Freeland
Freeland interview – “DJing shouldn’t be a job, it should be a passion”
Freeland – Cope
Freeland – Now And Them