Free Energy is a Philadelphia rock band comprised of Scott Wells (guitar), Paul Sprangers (vocals), Evan Wells (bass), Nicholas Shuminsky (drums), and Sheridan Fox (guitar). They released their sophomore album titled Love Sign this January.
There are a lot of good things that I can say about Free Energy. They are great musicians and Love Sign has some great production quality. Scott Wells delivers some fantastic and rich guitar sounds throughout an album that has a consistent feel to it throughout. Thematically, Love Sign is positive and makes the listener remember what it is like to be in love and to feel alive. It is hard not to hear remnants of other talented musicians in the work of Free Energy. The album starts off huge, much like The Darkness did in their album One Way Ticket to Hell and Back. Sprangers' vocals and much of the band's style are reminiscent of the '90s band Everclear if you removed some of the darker undertones of abandonment and abuse. Many of the songs feel like they were written either as Tom Petty or for Tom Petty to sing. Outside of those bands, there are little glimpses of Zwan here and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah there.
It would be really easy to write a great review of the album Love Sign, but unfortunately I just can't.
There is something missing in this album. There are moments where the band pokes its head into some real Indie rock goodness and proves that they have their own sound and their own story to tell, but almost immediately they retreat and hide in pop anonymity. Perhaps they wish to do honor to their predecessors and in the process they forget to do honor to themselves. While some of these influences point them in a great direction, elements like the terrible overproduced alt-rock-inspired background vocals bring this band down. Free Energy is fun but ultimately forgettable, and that is because they are missing the magic, that singular sound that could only be theirs. Without it, the best they can hope to accomplish is to blend in and get a paycheck.
With the right inspiration and the right direction, I think that Free Energy could be one of the best bands you've ever heard. Maybe that sound is there in their first album. I don't know, because I haven't listened to it. I think, though, that if they work for it, that greatness could certainly be present in their third album. My thought is that they could start with my favorite track "True Love" and devote themselves to making every track on their next album better than this stand-out track from Love Sign.
Free Energy has all of the puzzle pieces. Now comes the challenge of putting the puzzle together and seeing what appears.