Published Jun 19, 2019Absolutely Free, the project of veteran Toronto musicians Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg, Michael Claxton and Matt King, emerged in 2014 with their self-titled debut, a Polaris Music Prize nominee. Now, they return with Geneva Freeport, a brief showcase of Absolutely Free's ability to actualize their lush, psychedelic experimentation and philosophical perspectives as a group, with uniformity and consistency.
Geneva Freeport's prog-rock title track opens the project, with a racing, increasingly tense two-minute instrumental, before the band dive into their philosophical musings. They centre on the idea of going on holiday to the Geneva Freeport, a Swiss warehouse where the world's wealthiest store priceless works of art, tax-free. The chorus has them – bizarrely – quoting the timeless Louis Armstrong song: "And I think to myself, what a wonderful world."
"Currency," a post-punk duo with Meg Remy of U.S. Girls, concerns the concept of privilege in conversations on gender and the patriarchy (according to an email interview with The Fader). It's a sincere collaboration given that Remy's 2018 album, In A Poem Unlimited, dove into many stories of violence and oppression against women. With its transition from punchy, ripping guitar melodies in the first half, to a blissful, atmospheric new wave vibe on the extended outro, it's the track with the most sticking power.
The maturation of the artists behind Absolutely Free is best demonstrated on the nearly ten-minute closing track, "The Endless Scroll." Time floats by with the help of a luminous synthetic melody, consistent percussion, and an energized keyboard solo. It demonstrates the band's ability to balance their potentially limitless musical curiosity with their desire to make sure their listeners are able to join them on their journey. (Idée Fixe)