Sound — 8
Freaks Like Me consists of Jon O'Connor (vocals/guitar), Dave Eve (bass) and Steve Kilroy (drums).
When you first hear this album, you're immediately reminded of Nirvana. The singer sounds like a more mature version of Kurt Cobain. How he would have sounded like if you he was still alive (and, most likely not, would still make music). It might not come as a surprise that the guys from Freaks Like Me are the same as the guys from Nervana, undoubtedly the best Nirvana tribute band in the world. But now they brought forth an album of there own material, and it is marvelous. Because of their background, the comparison with Nirvana is easily made.
From the raspy voice of Jon to the thunderous bass of Dave, accompanied by the excellent drumming of Steve, these guy have it in them to make it big. This album reminds you of the good part of the '90s when grunge was mainstream and well present on the radio.
01. "Better Off Blind" - Intro could have been that of Soundgarden. Song consists of dual vocal tracks (to create an echo). Singing style is calm, whilst the guitars and drums hack away in the background. This song is not so much a reminder to their Nervana background. Great album opener.
02. "All In a Lie" - Your typical grunge style music. Power chords all the way, raspy screaming vocals, pounding drums.
03. "Cynical" - Catchy song, with parts full on guitar and vocal violence. Very powerful song.
04. "Down" - Clean song, alternated by distorted power chords. Very "In Utero" style Nirvana, especially the short solo, sounds like a polychorus just like the intro of "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter."
05. "Idolfall" - Some guitar parts reminds me of "Rape Me." The middle part vocals sound alienated, on the background, accompanied by the weird music it's really cool. It goes back to the full on grunge violence seamlessly.
06. "Poppies and Rain" - Slow, clean song. But very nice closing track of the album.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are mysterious, an art form. Very abstract, but very fitting with the music.
An example from "Better Off Blind":
"Lost in translation
Breathless and vacant
Caught in the wheels spinning
Cutting like a blade
For all the mess you made of all of me"
"She rewinds all her thoughts and memories
She prescribes all of my heart anyday
And now she's waiting for answers while I bide
The rest of the time away"
The lyrics are clearly about personal suffering. Whether or not these come from personal experience, Jon knows how to deliver them to the audience convincingly. And, like Kurt Cobain, they sound very sincere when sung with a raspy voice.
Overall Impression — 9
The only thing I don't like about the album is that it's only 20 minutes long.
In general, this is a very good album, a nice promise to tilt grunge music up a notch. And hopefully make it mainstream again some day. This album makes you really curious what else is coming in the future from these guys. This EP is a really nice showcase of the talent they possess. And although not entirely original or unique, it makes you listen to it over and over again. Having seen Nervana live, I can tell from experience that the showmanship of these guys transfer easily to the stage. They are in no way a one trick pony.
The best song on the album is hard to point out, but it's most likely "Cynical." It's catchy, gets stuck in your head.