The Progster

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Free Fall - Thrown

I've mentioned previously the fantastic debut album Milliontown from Frost, featuring Jem Godfrey due out in July. Well, being the inquisitive, nosey, need to know everything kind of guy I am, I managed to track down a CD released by Jem's previous band Free Fall on Lazy Gun Records. At 5 quid plus a pound postage, I wasn't exactly mortgaging the house to hear what it was like. Recorded in 1991 by the second lineup of Free Fall, it features Jem on Keyboards, and Johnny Boyes on guitar, who also appears on Milliontown. Jem's brother Simon provides the drums, with Paul Worwood on bass, and Jean Paul Orr on vocals. Now the lineup is kind of guesswork here, since this was the 1990-1991 lineup, but the band credits on the CD are all pseudonyms like Steeller Jewel and Lowden Clear. It could be the Wurzels playing on here for all I know.

The CD has a cottage industry feel, with the printed insert and printed CD label, but at least you know it comes with a personal touch. A couple of emails from Robert Ramsey apologising for the delays maintained that personal touch.

Anyway, the music's the main thing of interest here. Overall it is worth a listen, if even just for the 2 or 3 standout sections. By far the best piece on the album is the keyboard based instrumental on It's Just a Game, which I think it's called Hellstate, just before Summerhouse. This moves from a nice slow pad section into a rousing passage with a blistering solo by Jem, and is the piece most like some of the Milliontown sections released so far. I say think it's called Hellstate, because it's track 3 on the CD, but there are only 4 sections of this track named on the CD cover, and it goes over 5 tracks on the CD. Go figure.

Vocal wise the performance is mixed, at times working well, and being reminiscent of Kansas on Goodbye Legion, which I feel ties for the best song with Summerhouse. Sometimes it gets in the way of an otherwise good instrumental performance. The style of vocals and keyboards at times reminded me of Curiosity Killed the Cat, but I mean that in a good way ;O). Johnny Boyes (if it is him) is kind of understated in the mix, and even the guitar solo in Goodbye Legion is extremely quiet, with the drums dominating in many areas.

Overall, a good effort, given most of the band were still teenagers when this was recorded. Certainly worth a listen if you want to hear a few good examples of where the Frost sound started 15 years ago.

There is a bit of a fun outrun on the CD, referring to kangaroos and bacon, which I'll leave to your imagination or listening pleasure should you buy the CD. All I'll say to end with is "Is your name Derek?"


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