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Freehand - Thinking Out Loud CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.01 | 12 ratings

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Squire Jaco
4 stars It's one thing to make this unique and fresh brand of progressive rock/fusion in the late 1980's; it's another thing to do it as a relatively obscure group of guys from North Carolina where you don't necessarily think "prog hotbed"...

This album was years ahead of its time. Yes, Freehand derives the bulk of its basic sound from an older band: Discipline-era King Crimson (not Gentle Giant as their name might suggest); but there weren't many bands copying that sound in 1987. A closer comparison might be the band Djam Karet (another KC-inspired band, but they came AFTER this one), while some hints of bands like U.K., Happy The Man, and Brand X are also evident.

This is a great album! Recorded in 1987-8, released in both 1997 and 2004 (remastered from the original 4-track analog tapes), the sound production on this is remarkably crisp and clear. Most of this 63-minute cd is instrumental, though there are a few songs with vocals (and done well). The only song that I could have lived without is "Mastodon" with its silly and nearly-spoken lyrics. But humor is good, and there is a cool vibe going on in that song, so I'll let it slide...

I guess I'm not as hard a marker as some reviewers when it comes to a group sounding derivative of other bands. This music is played very well, and if you can compose new stuff in the KC vein, I say more power to ya. This is a nice find. I wish the band had found more success in its prime.

Squire Jaco | 4/5 |


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