Sound — 8
Born from the ashes of the post-millenium British rock scene, Freeze The Atlantic's debut LP has been anticipated for quite some time now. Chipping away with live performances and jiggling their line up during the last three years, the band, who feature ex-Hundred Reasons bassist Andy Gilmour (playing guitar here) and ex-Reuben drummer Guy Davis, have finally delivered their debut album. Ultimately the sound here isn't too distant from the melodic yet direct and heavy guitar sound recognisable in bands like Hundred Reasons and Hell Is For Heroes. What Freeze The Atlantic do is bring the melodic closer to the forefront, vocalist Liv Punete's delivery unique for it's higher pitching and bringing a strong emotiveness to simplistic but effective melodies. When combined with thick, dense rhythms, emphatic lead guitar runs and creative drum patterns it brings a freshness to a sound not anywhere near as common as it was almost a decade ago. The opening trio of "Shivering & Dazed", "Conflict! Conflict!", "Broken Bones" and lead single "Volcanoes" probably best exemplifies the band's conviction, busy guitars and rhythms but crucially Liv Punete at his most electric. In an era where alternative bands can't cut to a chorus quickly enough the delivery in verses and breakdowns is consistantly as hook-laiden as it is heartfelt. Elsewhere the band variate the format effectively with the heavier, less conventionally structured "Le Track", pause for breath on steady, piano-driven "Crestfallen" and delve into more obvious pop-sensability to great effect on "The Colour" and disco-chorus-led "The Alibi". Despite featuring Hundred Reasons singer Colin Doran in a guest spot, "Loses All Romance" probably serves as weakest moment here, not quite carrying the flow of the other tracks and lacking the same execution.
Lyrics — 8
The simplistic nature of the melodies transcends into the lyrics as well, none coming more straight forward and effective than "Shivering & Dazed" with it's chorus refrain of "don't you, give up". It's a pattern the band maintain throughout, simple enough messages about brushing aside the frustrations of life. "Conflict! Conflict!", with it "conflict, conflict, your just wasting your time" and "Volcanoes" with it's "this is a sign of life, this is the voice of reason" are the other stand out examples of this. It's all generally upbeat, but "Crestfallen" with it's "sleepless nights and oversites" and "Loses All Romance" with it's "don't tell me everything, is gonna be alright" take the album down a more dour route and reflect on other side of coin. "Speakeasy", the albums title, couldn't reflect the lyrical intentions much better.
Overall Impression — 8
Fan's of the British rock scene from a decade back will find this release fresh and a great listen. At just over the half-hour mark, it certainly does not outstay it's welcome either. As a fan of Funeral For A Friend I found a lot of very close similarities in sound, so the combination of that and the melodic very much favouring the aggression may affect your listening stance and possibly detter some fans looking for perhaps more traces of Reuben and bands who carried a heavier edge and more ambition back in the day. As collisions of hard rock and pop go though however, you'll do well to improve on this.