Buffalo, New York’s Free Man, have just released an amazingly rich and complex album reminiscent of 90’s era grunge, but with a refreshingly honest, indie take. The 16-track super-album, Koinonia, is packed with quality songwriting and vocal prowess, as well as crisp, skilled instrumentation and production.
Here’s what we dug most…
The album explodes through the gate with Bashed In Your Brains, an edgy, angst-filled, anthemic ode to living modern life with an awakened mind…perhaps reluctantly awakened.
Infinite Radiant, in my not-so-humble opinion, shows us immediately that the boys of Free Man are making their music—their way. The writing is incredibly thoughtful, one might say—touched…
“You got got a lot of love in your heart, she said to me one day while we was
Walkin’ down the Primrose path to nowhere, I know I been fu#@in’ up
But would you please take me back just as I am
The freedom in your consequence lacks discipline, but still you call it love…”
Where Your Garden Grows opens with a bit of blues-folk inspired finger-picking, and expands quickly into the ambient ballad that it is…
Our Favorite Track:
Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, Free Man throws Walking In The Air at you. Reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World’s Got To Be Somebody’s Blues, here, the boys create a smoky, mellow vibe that walks the line between trip-hop and ambient. The organ, the low-key vocals, the production and mix…super great stuff.
Walk Away‘s heavy electric riffing, drums and lyrical content play the yang to the previous track’s (Walking In The Air) yin. The instrumental break a 2:40 brings 90’s era Smashing Pumpkins to mind.
The first 1:20 of the trippy, psychedelic Decaffeinated Rainbow reminded me instantly of R&B/Soul legend Sade. The track oozes with substance.
I’m convinced this is an album of intentional contrast. Concluding with the acoustic based Steady Heart, this wonderfully imaginative album closes in exact opposite fashion of its opening: Light, patient and surreal…
“And I can’t see, what is in front of me
Still I will trust in you, still I will trust in you
With a steady heart that keeps on goin’
Steady love that keeps on hopin’, leadin’ me on
Steady grace that keeps forgivin’
Steady faith that keeps believin’, leadin’ me on
And as the dawn breaks
And as the clouds clear
In and open space, together
We will run”
In a rare showing of radio-ready talent and production, Free Man’s Koinonia is absolutely legit. The sonic ride lasts over an hour, dipping listeners into a chilled-out, psychedelic pool of funk, jam, grunge, and acoustic melodies, which are—dare I say—mostly concerning the big universals: faith and love. I adore a band that not only refuses to pigeon-hole themselves into a particular genre, but also has the skill to pull it all off with mastery.
Imagine a lovely combination of Jimmy Eat World, Live (“Mental Jewelry”era), and Goo Goo Dolls, with dabblings of Sublime and Cool For August.
BELOW, you can listen to Free Man’s album, Koinonia, and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support Free Man by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!