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Fren - Where Do You Want Ghosts to Reside CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 127 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars FREN is a fairly new progressive rock band coming from the beautiful city of Krakow, Poland and features the lineup of Oskar Cenkier (keyboards), Michał Chalota (guitar), Andrii Shamanov (bass guitar, synthesizer) and Oleksii Fedoriv (drums). Founded in 2017 this is one of the many so-called retro prog bands that finds the most inspiration from classic 70s bigwigs like King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Yes with a sprinkling of Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath and even Dream Theater.

The band's debut album WHERE DO YOU WANT THE GHOSTS TO RESIDE follows 2019's EP "Heavy Matter" and takes on an album's worth of solid retro prog which in six track's worth adds up to almost 45 minutes of playing time. This is a purely instrumental affair with no vocals to be heard and although perhaps some lyrics sprinkled in here and there may have been a good thing, i'm so happy when excellent instrumentally oriented prog bands forsake the vocal thing altogether if they can't find a singer talented enough to pull off the vocal gymnastics required to match the prowess of the musical flow.

FREN is a very melodic band and spends a lot of time nurturing catchy hooks all teased out into bass driven grooves but is quite creative in adding complex side trips from a simple straight forward compositional approach. While "Twin Peaks" opens with an ethereal swirl of atmospheric darkness, the second track "Surge" clearly states that FREN is a rock band with heavy guitar bombast and a beefy bass led rhythm section that sustains an energetic delivery for almost ten minutes. The album continues with excellent keyboard runs, an abundance of time signature richness and excellent instrumental interplay between the four band members with none really stealing the show. This is a top notch band affair graced with a nice modern production that feels as warm and organic as some of the 70s classics.

Despite all the references to classic artists of yore, FREN succeeds in crafting a unique prog vision that offers a unique recipe of retro sounds all thrown into the cauldron together and melded together in a way that sounds like the perfect mix of old and new, rock and jazz, mellow and bombastic. "Pleonasm" for example relies on beautiful classical piano passages to alternate with jazzy guitar sections with crafty variations that direct the track to sneak past the twelve minute mark. If i had to sum up this album in just one word then it would truly be "playful" as the band excel at just making the musical procession a thoroughly enjoyable experience without relying on too many experimental touches and just keeping to a strong groove and instantly cuddly melody making experience much like the classic prog of the past.

Overall WHERE DO YOU WANT THE GHOSTS TO RESIDE may not go down as a classic of retro prog but it is an excellent slice of instrumental prog that will keep you entertained throughout its playing with an interesting diverse set of tracks that stay true to a basic formula but offer enough variation to make this a warm and fuzzy prog experience. This is only the debut so i'm quite impressed. Lots of excellent keyboard and piano action crafting beautiful melodies, uplifting atmospheres, groovy bass and guitar parts that alternate between bombastic rock heft and funk-tinged jazzy workouts. In many ways this sounds so familiar but in others exists in a world of its own. I find this one is pretty good on multiple listens unlike many newer retro prog bands out there. All i can say is - nice!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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