REVIEW: Free The Robots’ “The Balance”

 photo FreeTheRobots_cover_zps8113a776.jpg The Balance (Elsewhere Studios) by Free The Robots is a great electronic album for those who love their songs soothing, funky, anthemic, and fresh. These songs sound like potential anthems because of how they’re put together, whether it’s something that nicks a few elements from soul, funk, and/or hip-hop or when you hear certain keyboards and pianos and you feel that this could be someone’s rite of passage. There’s a nice intensity to how the songs are played and structured, most of it are instrumentals but when Jessie Jones blesses the tracks with her voice (as she does in “Carnival” and “Ophic”, it just opens the dimensions of these songs and you don’t mind getting caught up in its construction, or to witness the final version of the construction at hand. The jazzy samples in “2040” could easily make it sound like something from the 1930’s or 1940’s, but then the beat comes in, the bassline plops itself dead center, and you know exactly where it comes from: the gut of now. From the jazz to something that might be influenced by Afrobeat, which then unfolds into something disco, which then turns into jungle and then something else and other things and on and on, it’s like those Matryoshka dolls that keep revealing another and another, and it’s not only discovering another layer, but the action in making the discoveries, which involves listening. It’s very nice to do, and The Balance comes off like what would’ve happened if UNKLE’s Psyence Fiction had started a movement. There’s a bit of something for all tastes, which makes going through the layers a joy.

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