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Freedom Fry

Friends And Enemies EP


[Self-released; 2013]



By ; April 8, 2013 


Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

It wasn’t so much fate that brought French/American duo Freedom Fry into existence, but more the fortune of having two different jobs that came together. Bruce Driscoll was shooting the video for his other band Blondfire, and on set was Parisian-born Marie Seyrat who was working as a stylist. She played him a song in her native language and it was the spark that ignited the creative fire between them. Months later they were releasing their first EP, conceptualizing their own artwork and videos; they were devoted to their connection and the music it created.

That all began two years ago, and since then the duo have been productive in short bursts, with the Wild West-themed Outlaws EP and a number of other appealing singles. Everything they constructed was undeniably harmonious as their voices meld and melt together to create a new one. Driscoll’s is the spine to it all, a friendly and casually charming semi-tenor, but Seyrat’s accented wisp smooths out any harsh edges, and the end result is something that slides close to tags of “cute,” but avoids them outright with its appealing, if not distracting upbeat instrumentation.

Their latest EP, Friends And Enemies is the best example of that description, consisting of a trio of songs built around bass lines and drum beats that spring into infectious and likeable grooves. For the most part, we see the duo working from the ground up, starting with those aforementioned ingredients, and insouciantly adding in additional instruments. “Friends and Enemies” is perhaps the most obvious example of this. It’s easy to be drawn in with its bass riff which sounds both a little unsure and dedicated to its cause, and they ride it for a good minute before coming in with any vocals. The payoff, however, is well worth it, and before long, the duo are transitioning into bridges and choruses that all have their separate appeal, creating a song full of earworms that will start niggling away in your mind hours, if not days after you last listened to the track.

“The Sea Invisible” follows suit, dragging the bass line down into a minor key, and though a little murkier than the title track that precedes it, it still has more than enough to hook onto. With each arrival in its chorus, it’s like a small jump into the ocean itself, like you’re suddenly submerged and in different surroundings. Comparatively speaking it’s the weakest cut here, but that’s partly due to the upbeat infectious manner of the other tracks. It’s a welcome respite that shows the duo can work with the tempo dialled back a little.

On the surface, or at least just from descriptions of the Freedom Fry, it’d be easy to assume they have that “gazing into each other’s eyes” kind of sound, like L.A.’s Kisses. And the mention of a ukulele that comes into the picture on “With The New Crowd” might jump you towards Noah & The Whale. And you know what? You aren’t entirely off with those comparisons, but at the same time they’re not entirely fair either. Sure, the duo sing about relationships like many others do, and the lyrical content of Friends And Enemies addresses this (albeit from a more outsider perspective, like they’re trying assess and figure out what it is that keeps people together, apart, and together through their separation), but they seem more intent on inhabiting their own world as opposed to trying to fit into the one everyone else inhabits.

All that defence laid out, though, Friends And Enemies isn’t the absolute perfect little EP I might be painting it out to be. The three songs are really wonderful for all their catchy appeal, but there’s an imperfection in these tracks that holds the EP back from being something outstanding. “With The New Crowd,” for example, carries its Franz Ferdinand/Fujiya & Miyagi sleekness very well, but lacks a certain impetus that puts them in the same league as the aforementioned British band. This could just be an issue of time. Working in EP format, the duo don’t give themselves much room to travel, and consequently restrict themselves from blossoming fully.

If Friends And Enemies is doing anything, it’s making a mission statement for the future. There’s a surprising little acoustic cut at the end of their Let the Games Begins EP, their debut release from 2011, which features the line, “It’s a great big world/ and you’re rolling down.” Instead of falling away from their peak, though, here in 2013 they sound like they’re efficiently working their way up the mountain–and having fun doing so. The invitation to their world is more open than ever here, and instead of just inhabiting it, Driscoll and Seyrat sound like they want you to be a part of it. And frankly, with a duo like Freedom Fry as your friends, who needs enemies?


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