Emerging from Manchester in 2016, the band Freeda have recently released their debut EP Voodoo, a three track collection of Blues Rock come early Brit Pop which promises big things. Freeda is made up of: Sean Rowles (Acoustic guitar and lead vocals), Callum Hignett (Lead guitar), Adam Barton (Bass and backing vocals), Cameron Meekums-Spence (Rhythm guitar and backing vocals) and Adam Jackson (Drums).
‘See The Sun’ is an excellent choice to open the EP. The track opens with a crunchy, Blues Rock guitar sound that really caught a sense of early 60s and 70s American rock. It isn’t until Sean Rowles vocals come in that the Brit Pop influences shine through, with his voice carrying a melody which captured something of later Oasis and the Coral. The places where both the early 60s and 70s Rock and Brit Pop influences play off each other was where I felt that the EP excelled, with the band offering something more interesting and nuanced.
Sadly, the second track ‘Now You’re Gone’ really moved away from this. It is a much slower and more melodic track than the opener which is a pleasant change of pace. However, ‘Now You’re Gone’ fails to recapture the interesting blend of influences that were apparent in ‘See The Sun’, instead stripping all influence away except for that of Oasis. The track is by no means a bad song, I simply couldn’t feel any of the excitement that came across in the other two tracks on the EP where the band were toying with a wider array of influences and striving towards something more original. Thankfully however, with the final track, Freeda really won me over.
Nowhere did the band feel stronger than in the title track ‘Voodoo’. This was a standout for me personally and really holds the EP up. The track recaptures the blend of influences hinted towards in ‘See The Sun’, yet extrapolates this, creating a slick and sleazy Indie Rock and Blues inspired sound that is at once sinister yet sincere as Rowles delivers his vocals, which fit the tone perfectly. An underlying Hendricksian – now yet another of my favourite adjectives to add alongside Screamin-Jay-Hawkins-esque – guitar sound also adds an interesting depth to the piece.
Overall, Freeda’s debut EP Voodoo is a surprisingly varied and enjoyable collection of songs from the band, and one which points towards interesting things in the future. Whilst the ironically long-cast shadow of Oasis is a difficult one to escape in contemporary Rock music, and one which ‘Now You’re Gone’ fell much too heavily under the gaze of, by developing the more interesting ideas put forward in ‘See The Sun’ and the stunning track ‘Voodoo’, the band should be one to watch in the future.
Voodoo is available to listen on Freeda’s Soundcloud page and Spotify, and you can also catch them at one of their upcoming gigs:
22nd July – Manchester Mayflower
30th September – The Castle, Manchester