Freezepop: Fancy Ultra-Fresh (Archenemy, 2004)
Following in the footsteps of Human League, Ladytron, and Kraftwerk, Freezepop is a blend of fanciful, energetic dance pop mixed with songs that are more on the serious side. About half the songs on this album are fun filled tunes, while the other half are darker, more intricate pieces. In fact, I find this disc to be kind of schizophrenic, but, in many ways, I like it because it is so two sided. The band consists of front lady Liz Enthusiasm, The Duke of Pannekoeken, and the other Sean T. Drinkwater. Yes, probably not their real names, but their names seem to fit the playfulness of their songs. Also, I am always fascinated with electronic bands that become attached to one sequencer or keyboard and stick with it, trying to make it do what they want. Freezepop programs all their songs on a Yamaha QY-70 to great effect.
Fancy Ultra-Fresh begins with a tongue-and-cheek stalker song called “Stakeout”. Liz states in her monotone voice over pulsing drums that she likes the boy who works in the indie-record store. Included on the disc is a video of the song. It’s a catchy tune that will have you dancing in your living room. It’s a fast tempo song that reminds me of an electronic version of Marine Research or Heavenly. “Bike Thief” comes next. After the first two songs, the listener begins to get the impression that Freezepop is into crime or some sort of mental disturbance. No worries though, the album does change after the kleptomaniac song “Bike Thief” and the stalker song “Stakeout.” “Bike Thief” is more of an industrial song with distorted vocals at points. It has a robotic chorus and the appearance of those Marine Research style vocals make an appearance as well. “I am not Your Gameboy” begins and ends with a sample from many people’s childhood memories: Speak and Spell. This is Liz‘s theme to the boys about her being a human being and not a plaything.
“Parlez-Vous Freezepop” displays one of Liz‘s other talents: French. The French syllabification works great on this song with the electronic music. This is a medium-tempo song that is up-beat, but, frankly, I couldn’t tell you what she is saying. “Outer Space” is probably one of my favorite songs on the disc. This is a more atmospheric song with spacey keys and simple drums. It’s a song about solitude and is definitely their strongest showing on the disc. “Duct Tape My Heart” is a playful, yet serious song about Liz’s feelings. This is typical love song, but it does fall into the darker side of their disc, which I like. “Manipulate (Mastermind Mix)” really reminds me of a cross between Ladytron and The Human League. The song structure of this song, “Duct Tape” and “Outer Space” are fantastic. I hope to see a darker album along this line in the future. “Emotions and Photons” is also a great song that recalls all the good things about 80’s electronic pop.
All in all, this disc is solid. The production is stellar and the songs are strong contributions to the genre. If you love to dance or love bands like Ladytron, this certainly is a band for you. Give Freezepop a try and you will be in for a tasty treat.