Love Sign

Free Energy

Free Energy Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


With a name life Free Energy and an album titled Love Sign, one might expect a disc full of hippie nostalgia and jam band meandering. And though there is much '70s influence here, the music is a lot more suited for a house party than any campfire noodling. Containing strong guitar leads, sing-a-long choruses and playful hooks, there's a whole lot of  '70s power pop versus '80s stadium rock mixed with '90s indie rock on the sophomore album from this Philadelphia outfit. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The lead off track “Electric Fever” becomes instantly memorable with the 'whoa ohs' and then takes the listener by surprise with much emphasis on the cowbell, something that is used often here. By the time we get to “Girls Want To Rock,” a song lead by hand clapping, it becomes clear Free Energy is highlighting more than just the guitars here with a nice synth melody. Though most of this is energetic, riff-driven and loud, they do bring the tempos down on occasion, as pianos become important on “Dance All Night.” “True Love” is also a more subdued track, though more in a New Wave ballad sort of way.

This disc often sounds like an audio tour of the best three decades of rock music. You get '80 style, crunchy guitar solos on “Hangin,” anthemic bar rock on “Backscratcher,” and more Americana influenced country rock with “Hold You Close.” Ultimately, Free Energy relies on their greatest strength: straightforwardness. Musically, it's a fun retro-rock adventure with guitar work that often brings to mind feathered hair and jean jackets. Lyrically, it's equally as direct, as the songs contain no hidden meanings or complicated references.

Love Sign is a fun album for those who miss what rock music used to sound like. The more driving portions of this album wouldn't be out of place in Joe Dirt's headphones, while the calmer moments draw parallels to Wilco's A.M. on Prozac.

Rating: B+

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Free Energy Records, and is used for informational purposes only.