Best known for its role in Intelligent Dance Music, James Murphy’s DFA label has found a fantastic power-pop gem in Free Energy. The band’s self-titled debut EP is nothing but hooks in four- to five-minute pop track form, and as much as 17 minutes can indicate, it’s the sound of a band that’s fully formed on arrival. Consisting of four veteran musicians currently based out of Philadelphia, Free Energy is only “indie” pop if “indie” is now used as a synonym for “good.”
The talent is not just limited to ex-Hockey Night singer Paul Sprangers (what Russell Brand would look like if you could take him home to Mom) and guitarist Scott Wells. The addition of Evan Wells on bass, Geoff Bucknam as a second guitarist and Nicholas Schuminsky on drums has solidified the band at every level, and the presence of Murphy will do nothing but help the band. The vibrance of “Free Energy,” the humble romanticism of “Dark Trance,” the freewheeling “Something in Common,” and the honky-tonk drum-kick of “Dream City” show all off remarkable eclecticism in a short amount of time.
Free Energy is scheduled to release a debut full-length album in January, and, after this EP, the album has to be one of the more anticipated debuts of 2010. Free Energy is the rare indie band that trades on positives rather than cynicism without any pretensions or exclusivity. At this point, the band sounds like a much-needed link between American power pop and the growing breed of globalist pop in the Very Best/M.I.A. mold. We’ll wait until the full album, but after the Free Energy EP, it would be very difficult for the band to screw things up now.