Freeze The Atlantic - Speakeasy Record Label: Alcopop! Records
Release Date: September 17, 2012
Some try to hide it, some embrace it, but each and every band out there wears their influences on their sleeves in some way, shape or form. No matter who they are or where they're from, it's always clear what they used to sit on their bedroom floor listening to for hours on end.
That isn't important this time. For Freeze The Atlantic, it's all about who they are, not where they've come from.
In debut album Speakeasy, the band, featuring members of British stalwarts Hundred Reasons and Reuben, have delivered exactly what was expected of them - big, ballsy, immediate rock plucked straight from 2003.
By no means should you expect Speakeasy to be a collection of stale B-sides though. Perhaps a preconception that any band featuring parts of the creme de la creme of early-00's British rock has to deal with, it's one that FTA rise above with grace, aplomb and helped in no small part by an album of great, great songs.
The past is there for all to hear, with the driving basslines, drama and suspense of Hundred Reasons a huge part of standout track "Volcanoes". It's understandable when competing with the thunder of drummer Guy Davis, but vocalist Craig Knott sometimes struggles to find the power to match the bombast of the backline on tracks like, "The Alibi". Thankfully,the presence of a few shrewdly selected guest vocalists reinforces the album's key tracks, with Hundred Reasons' Colin Doran putting in a fiery, stirring cameo on "Loses All The Romance" and Lucero's Liv Puente adding much-needed depth to the aforementioned "Volcanoes".
If there's one big criticism of this record, it's in the sequencing department. Slow-paced, meandering ballad "Crestfallen" sticks out like a sore thumb between the breakneck riffs of "This isn't Match, This is Rock 'n' Roll" and the searing "Loses All The Romance"; like a driver with a lead foot, this album is best at its fastest and worst at its slowest.
Speedier singles-in-waiting "Volcanoes" and "The Colour" have everything required for universal appeal; irrepressible energy, a slew of hooks and the je ne sais quoi intrigue of Knott's understated, elegant vocals.
In short, this is a record made by old hands with new purpose and youthful abandon by the bucketload. And that is simply impossible to resist.