Album Reviews

Freeland – Now And Them

(Marine Parade) UK release date: 15 September 2003


Freeland are described in theirpress release as “two nutty Chileans, a bald wizarddrummer, a soul diva and a DJ.” That DJ, of course,is Adam Freeland, highly respected as a breakbeatDJ and mixer of the blockbusting Tectonics compilationwhen Big Beat was the style of the moment.

Freeland’s band is a differentkettle of fish however, with much more to say and adirect, no-nonsense way of saying it. The opener andsingle We Want Your Soul is a case in point: asinister, robotic female voice intoning, “Your pills,your grass, your tits, your ass, your laughs, yourballs, we want it all,” over a monster beat. Thenthere’s the Bill Hicks sample: “Go back to bedAmerica, your country is in control again.” Surprisingly this went down well when the band touredthe States!

The paranoia and anger continues in thegranite structure of the Frank Herbert inspired MindKiller. After this Burn The Clock gives a mildrespite, although the guitar lines hint at troublebeneath the surface. The stop-start beats of Heel ‘n’Toe feature Juice and Toastie of New Flesh, with anuplifting vocal of “punk, rock, reggae, roll.”

Stravinsky underpins the Physical World witha haunting string sample from the Rite Of Spring, andthen comes Alison David’s big moment in the modernsoul of Supernatural Thing. This woman has a fantasticvoice! When she sings about interplanetary andextraordinary goings-on you feel like the subject ofthe song. For the closing trio Freeland resorts tomore instrumental tracks with his breakbeatsensibilities coming through.

With a live show that’s receivingrave write-ups, Adam Freeland has found his vehicle fora personal message, dealing with anti-consumerism,fear and a conditioned, robotic society. It’s thealbum we’ve been wanting to hear from The ChemicalBrothers, who Freeland comfortably surpasses as one ofthe most distinctive and vital UK dance artistsaround. More power to his elbow!


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Freeland – Now And Them


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