Free Energy – Love Sign
by Erica Moser (Journalism), published February 5th 2013
Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!
Upon first listen, Love Sign, the second album from Philadelphia-based rock band Free Energy, is infectious and upbeat, with impressive guitar riffs. The second time through, however, it grows increasingly irritating, due in part to uninspired lyrics. (For instance, “sometimes I wonder if my heart is alive” on “Street Survivor” and the spelling-out of “true love” on the track of the same name.) This is not an album with sticking power.
The songs don’t fall into a groove, but instead offer a monotonous drone of recycled material. Free Energy is very basic. They sound like your average, undistinguished college or nightclub band. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad or untalented; it just means they’re nothing special. Moreover, “Electric Fever” and “Backscratcher” definitely don’t need more cowbell.
Still, the album has its better moments. The aforementioned two songs have intricate electric guitar solos. “Hold You Close” has nice harmonies, while “True Love” makes good use of front man Paul Sprangers’s falsetto. Yet, it’s frustratingly discordant that the songs that are the best instrumentally are the worst lyrically. The members of Free Energy are proficient singers and guitarists, but they do not have the creative process to successfully translate that into noteworthy music. Thankfully, there’s one way to enjoy Free Energy: don’t think about it too hard. Go bake some cookies, or hang out with friends, and make this your chipper background noise—just don’t expect it to be more rewarding than that.