Thursday, April 28, 2011

Late Review: Freebass Two Worlds Collide EP

Frustrated by the lack of progress of their respective projects Peter Hook (New Order) and Gary "Mani" Mounfield (Primal Scream) dreamed up an all bass group as the solution to their problems. Drafting Andy Rourke (The Smiths) the trio formed the core of Freebass, the least conventional supergroup ever convened.
This six track EP, released in 2010, collects the early efforts of the group as they were auditioning vocalists and producers.  Details are difficult to find but the group's line-up was fluid at the point this was recorded, likely around 2005, notably featuring more of Rourke's guitar work than on their proper album and Lionrock's Roger Lyons, at the time handling programming for New Order's live set-up, who takes control of synths and production on three tracks.
Bookended by sound effect tracks that add a touch of atmosphere Two Worlds Collide offers a glimpse of what could have been in a project that easily could have gone a bit Spinal Tap.  The first proper song "You Don't Know This About Me" finds Tim Burgess (The Charlatans) in an uncharacteristically lower register channeling Peter Murphy over a post-punk inspired backing track.  Despite an odd middle-eight key change and a very familiar riff from Hooky the song is a contender as the group's finest moment.  Fittingly it was issued as a single in it's own right.  "The Milky Way Is Our Playground" changes gears to a slower, heavy take that is a bit Madchester-gone-space-rock with Pete Wylie (Wah!) bringing bonkers lyrics to the party.  Things go off the rails with "Dark Starr" as the infamous UK drug dealer Howard Marks attempts to shock with a spoken word performance where he claims to be a pagan and a sinner.  At best he comes across as an aging, rambling stoner which is hardly shocking at all.  It is the longest track of the bunch featuring a riff which the group liked enough to reuse with a new vocal on "She Said", found on their It's A Beautiful Life album, but in this form everything wears thin.  "Live Tomorrow You Go Down" is a different beast, a blast of raw dance music with a shouting Hook taking a turn on lead vocals asking us "which way do you want to go now" when the answer should be obvious to any New Order fan.  More of this dance rock thing, please.    

No comments: