New research out of UC Berkeley reveals some interesting tidbits about how the human…
- Posted on Mar 11th 2011 1:00PM by Tabassum Siddiqui
What do you get when two major-label escapees join forces? Well, some pretty engaging tunes, if Toronto electro-folk duo Freedom or Death is any indication. Vocalist Sway Clarke and instrumentalist Steve Fernandez met while working for a big record company and decided to take their first-hand knowledge of the music biz to seize creative control over the music-making process themselves.
Even their band name is a direct nod to the pair's fiercely DIY focus, and the two handle all writing, producing, recording, and performing duties on all their tracks. A classically-trained pianist, Fernandez also has a background as a DJ, while Clarke honed his songwriting and vocal chops fronting several bands over the years.
The result of this creative meeting of the minds melds Clarke's soaring Jeff Buckley-esque vocals with Fernandez's clever arrangements that bolster soft folk melodies with poppy synths and effervescent percussion.
It's the kind of unique sound that's managed to garner plaudits from the likes of the Wall Street Journal (who praised their CMJ showcase) to music blog Earmilk (which came up with the apt description: "It's like Bon Iver carpooled with the Junior Boys on the way to the Massive Attack concert, but they got snowed in").
Following the release of their debut self-titled EP last year, Freedom or Death are set to drop the seven-track 'Ego' EP in April, which expands on their early promise by incorporating additional sonic textures into the mix while maintaining their organic approach to electro-pop.
Inspired by 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf,' the 1966 movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, EP track 'Virginia Woolf' incorporates sound clips from the classic film to explore the age-old conundrum of the dysfunctional relationship.
Built around a gentle acoustic guitar melody and Sway's plaintive vocal, the tune sounds at once completely familiar and yet utterly fresh -- a feeling truly great songs tend to evoke. Just when you think you know exactly where the melody is going, things take a seemingly random turn with synths and handclaps punctuating the dreamy vibe. And yet, somehow, it all meets in the center to sound just right.
"But it's okay/We're falling out from under/Still you're always/Leaving me around," Sway sings, his voice taking on all the world-weariness of the titular author. Given that she knew a thing or two about the human condition, we have a feeling she may well have related to the tune's introspective bent.
Freedom or Die play tonight at the Baitshop at 9PM ET