Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ideal Free Distribution - A Review.


If you dig deeply enough, you’ll find a wealth of music inspired by the past more convincingly than the groups that drop names for the sake of desirable genre placement (for one, claiming a Morrissey influence doesn’t rank you alongside the Smiths; it makes you one of the Killers, and there you’ll stay). British pop and garage rock from the 1960s spawned a fair number of imitations, and luckily for the spontaneous blend of lo-fi distortion and sunny energy they've always carried, most imitations of the genres fare better than those who mimic, say, the made-up glow of new wave.

Ideal Free Distribution is certainly sunny, though, and it’s a wonder, given that it took ten years for them to get an album out, despite initial plans for a much earlier release. Sparked in Benton, Kentucky by a core trio in 1997, they’re now a fresh octet, somewhat discovered by Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo, who mixed this self-titled debut. The record’s much better than what’s indicated by the album cover’s cheap text font, and is actually one of the sweeter listens available this side of 2007. Ideal Free Distribution claims to be influenced by all the usual 1960s culprits, but more than a likeness to the Kinks or Zombies, they bear semblance to a modern band influenced by the Kinks or Zombies.

Opener “Apples and Oranges” has a lazy, swinging Doors vibe – likely Marci Schneider’s mellowtron at work – but all sorts of recent influences take effect shortly thereafter. The happy-go-lucky bounce and midway psychedelic breakdown of “Saturday Drive” flow into the retro bossa nova tremble of “Tropic of Cancer” as if to retroactively follow Greg Ashley from a Gris Gris rock-out to a sexy Mirrors flutter. Likewise, “Someone’s Gonna Die” features more of the light-meathead vocal style used by the Brian Jonestown Massacre or BJM graduate Brian Glaze – this isn’t an insult so much as a way of defining the contrast between the modern American and the flamboyant Brit of forty years ago. “American Myth" transitioning into “Elegant Sunbeam” is like the waver between rock hallucination and forced restraint on Oneida’s The Wedding. But thinking back to 2005’s “Did I Die” and “Run Through My Hair” would be the unnecessary cap on an unnecessary list of comparable names, wouldn’t it?

Overall, this debut is quite nice – there’s a bit of an awkward lull after eighth track “Son of a Gun,” a generic ‘90s indie rock venture that (though more “rock” than anything else here) turns successive tracks into a collective downer, but the gorgeous, droning “Hit the North” brings the record’s tone back into a territory of consistent psychedelia, between the aggressive and the dreamy, a happy medium that sums up the album’s greater feel.

Check out their MySpace page for audio samples, buy the record here, or be the stingy bastard who downloads what's below:

1 comment:

Travis said...

i pretty much agree with exactly what you have said here. It's a nice album, though I doubt I'll spend too much time with it.