Friday, 16 October 2015

Alex Bleeker & The Freaks 'Country Agenda' (ALBUM REVIEW)


The curiously named Alex Bleeker and the Freaks are much more mainstream than you might expect. Knocked together in Brooklyn, New York, the merry band of Freaks are joined by Bleeker himself in creating a unique yet universally undemanding LP. 

The upcoming release is the third album for the band, and showcases much of the same indie-pop heard in 2009’s eponymous album, and 2013’s ‘How Far Away”. The mood wanders through a melodic dreamscape, a flirtatious mix of playful melodies and dulcet yet heavy-hearted tracks. First to be released was “The Rest”, a classic indie masterpiece with hippie-folk edges,  channelling feelings of heartbreak into a refreshingly breezy listen. The record is the first to mark the newfound cohesion amongst the band, boasting multiple songwriters and instrumentalists in a glorious ensemble. Bleeker himself recognises this change; he explains: “for the first time, the Freaks came together as a collaborative unit, and crafted what we think is our best album yet. It was recorded on a hillside overlooking the ocean in coastal California, and we hope that some of that beauty comes through in the music.”

The LP does indeed coast from one track to the next. The dreamy vibe is carried by title track “Country Agenda”, “Honey I Don’t Know” and “California” in particular, whilst sporadically dipping into sombre territory with “The Wind” and “They’ve Gone Home”. Each track naturally unfolds into an easy tempo, nailed by Bleeker’s genius lyricism. Bleeker has clearly journeyed far from the bassist of Real Estate to be a leading front-man, collecting other worldly talents along the way. He cobbled together the band’s drummer, Bill Kreutzmann, guitarist Alex Steinbery and bassist Nick Lenchner as the so-called ‘Freaks’ — and that isn’t all. The album features glowing guest vocals from Mountain Man singer Molly Sarle.

In true Freak style, Country Agenda will be available on vinyl, CD and tape. And if that wasn’t enough, The Freaks are kicking off a tour in their homeland of Brooklyn. Due out on October 16, ‘Country Agenda’ is not to be missed.

Words - Claudia Turnbull

Country Agenda is released on October 16th via Sinderlyn. 
Alex Bleeker official