Free Energy Stuck on Nothing

With many new bands firmly focused on creating sounds and textures with their music it's nice to run into one more concerned with songs. Philadelphia, PA's Free Energy make no apologies for mining the lighter side of '70s rock, crafting tunes that unabashedly reference both Thin Lizzy and Cheap Trick. The five-piece band's catchy power pop proved too much for even LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy to resist, signing them to his DFA label and producing this, their debut record. Far from the synth-heavy dance party Murphy's involvement might suggest, he instead gives each of the instruments room to breathe, creating a modern recording without the compression and overdubbing that term usually implies. But for all the goodtime rock'n'roll vibes, Free Energy, which include former members of Hockey Night, lack personality and character; listening to this record gives you no sense of who the band are, or where they come from. Still, with tracks this catchy that shouldn't be an issue. (DFA)