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Tom Fuller Band; Freedom

The Tom Fuller Band's 2011 album Ask kind of knocked me sideways, combining Pop hooks with Rock licks and shimmer-shines of Beatles to Stereophonics and Cheap Trick to the Faces. Freedom carries that same ethos forward while adding more than a touch too much commerciality.

Album opener "Roller Coaster Free Fall" (I do like that title) begins things in cool raspy Beatles meets Stereophonics style, a jaunty jangle giving a gritty edge, "Lonely Man" adding a sharp bite and irresistibly steady beat. It's a fine start and one made up of the sort of fare that should easily crossover from the serious Rock market into more chart friendly ground. Something the slower acoustic based, almost John Wesley like title track confirms in fine, if possibly too similar style. However the overly twee "One Plus One" unearths an unwelcome slice of Robbie Williams, which is as unexpected as it is unsettling. And it's this final twist that actually undermines a little of the good work carried out on Freedom, with a yearning for the Pop-crossover hit taking the commercial nous that made Ask so beguiling and converting it into gauche, glaring come and get me blatantness. It's a real shame, for when this album hits the mark, it really does become a thing of multi-faceted beauty, yet there are just a few too many moments where that subtleness is turned into neon expulsions of flagrant chart-bothering fluff.

Fuller himself is a fine vocalist who in fairness does do the ever evolving aspects of Freedom justice and the band he's amassed for this album is a cracking outfit who give each and every one of the songs this album contains, everything they've got. Yet it still isn't quite enough to take the stinging guitar solo of "Bring Me Down" or the off-kilter xylophone like clongs and acoustic guitar of "Sweet Dreams" and raise them to the unforgettable standards Ask conjured.

Comparing releases from an artist and asking why one is better than the other, or vice versa, is a thankless and unfair task, yet expectations are raised for reasons and while mine were possibly unreasonably high for Freedom, there's still no shaking off the disappointment that it isn't a little more refined in its wish for mass appeal.

Track Listing
1. Roller Coaster Free Fall
2. Lonely Man
3. Freedom
4. One Plus One
5. Bring Me Down
6. Fat Boy
7. Sweet Dreams
8. Jurisdiction
9. Sidewinder
10. Highest Mountain
11. I Will Always Think About You

Added: June 4th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Tom Fuller Band online
Hits: 1975
Language: english

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