The great thing about being a reviewer is the opportunity to sample lots of independent music for virtually no cost (after all, posting my opinion on a free website can scarcely count as "work"). In exchange for a little publicity (positivity is not guaranteed, but having a review come up when a prospective fan types your name into Google, with an easy purchase link, can make the difference for struggling bands), I get to hear more new music than the average person.
Of course, a lot of this music is, to put it bluntly, crap -- generally someone who bought a guitar, a computer, and some James Taylor CDs used and decided to become a recording artist -- but occasionally I am treated to a surprise: a band who is just a well-connected publicist away from stardom. New Jersey's Full Out Freak is one of those bands.
Their debut album (also entitled
Full Out Freak, which will certainly avoid confusion) is full of hummable power-pop tunes written by lead vocalist Joey Aparicio (the sole exception being guitarist Will Harrington's "Little Conversations") that easily translate into mental music videos due to their purity of emotion. (I would recommend licensing a few of these songs -- specifically "After All," "I'll Be Damned," the punny "Loser Anyway," and "What It's Worth" -- to film soundtracks. "Damned" simply cries out to underlie a montage.)
The band's musicianship is impeccable. Aparicio (also the album's producer) has one of those enviable lite-metal voices that can reach every note and Harrington seems to know when to lead the charge with his axe and when to provide rhythmic support along with bassist Eric Berkowitz and drummer Joe Timm (alternating with Skyline Studios owner Jonathan Mover). The album starts to lose momentum in the latter third, but the closer, "Drama", is a stunner, ending
Full Out Freak on just the right note. With a collection of terrific tunes and eye-catching graphic design (both the CD and the band's website), Full Out Freak are destined for future earworm status.
FULL OUT FREAK: Full Out Freak
Fusing energetic, edgy modern rock with the song-based, power pop sensibilities of Cheap Trick, Foo Fighters, Butch Walker, Incubus, New Jersey pop/rock quartet, Full Out Freak is a band about which no assumptions should be made.
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