Boomkat Product Review:
Back in stock! It's been absolutely ages since Fridge's last work (the incredible 'Happiness'), far too long in our opinion, but of course since then a certain Keiran Hebden has become something of a household name. Under his snappy Four Tet moniker he's managed to edge his way into public life as the acceptable face of the underground - championing jazzy improvisation, chunky electronics and chopped up post-hop messiness he's won over countless listeners with his unique style, something which sadly Fridge never really managed to do. Even bandmate Adem has made waves with his loving brand of nu-folk (don't say folktronica kids...) ending up on tour with none other than lost 70s legend Vashti Bunyan, so it seems those Fridge boys made good on their own, but here they are again, the schoolfriends have finally got back together and come up with a whole new album! So what's it like then - does it live up to the members' new found reputations? Well of course it doesn't, I don't think that would be possible, but saying that it's still a hugely enjoyable collection of tracks; diverse, fun and unpretentious in its scope, it just isn't exactly the Fridge we used to know and love. I remember buying the classic Fridge single 'Of' back in '99 and being struck at the use of 2-step with the post-rock fretwork we were all so concerned about back then, it was genuinely innovative and I must say that sense of heady innovation is certainly not present here. I guess that's the fury of youth, something which here is replaced with a simple, knowing enjoyment of the music - something that isn't so much a negative point, but is certainly different from the band's formative recordings. The influence of Hebden (and Hebden's assumed stylistic approach) is evident from the opening track 'The Sun' - Sam Jeffers' drumming is now pushed right up into the fore, with electronic blippery and guitar plinking pushed into a kind of roomy ambience, giving the piece a smudgy Krautrock feel reminiscent of 'Rounds' or Hebden's work with Steve Reid. However, this is not an album that can stay in one place for too long; within minutes we're back to 'classic' post-rock with 'Clocks', and before long we're into Don Caballero or Battles flavoured geek-rock with 'Eyelids', hazy post-funk with 'Oram' (a track I'm hoping is named after the great early-electronic innovator Daphne Oram) and the early-electro flavoured 'Comets'. This genre jumping totally sums up the flavour of the album, and you can easily hear the band really having fun here - jamming because they're totally at ease with each other, and that sense of internal amusement is the album's saving grace. So 'The Sun' might not be Fridge's most seismic contribution to modern music, but it's a hugely enjoyable document of a band who have got together to make something they just love doing - give it a listen and spread the love.