Free School: Dancing On The Dark
November 6th 2015 | Static Caravan | Albums
Colour. Birmingham. Not two words that naturally co-exist. And yet maximalist cosmic voyagers Free School have managed to create an album that explodes with colour and scatters the industrial behemoth second city with rainbow sparkles. A huge-sounding record, ‘Dancing On The Dark’ features a fearless band of shamanistic vocalists, effusing uplifting, stirring messages of hope in a time where hopelessness reigns supreme.
Tomlin Mystic (Friendly Fire Band), a truly mysterious wise man who speaks in poetry, features on ‘Love Calling’, the cosmic epic second single. ‘French Cousins’ has Free School’s live vocalist Greg Bird (Mark E, Speech Fewapy Records) crossing boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed. Sexwise.
Sigmund Frued, Birmingham’s hottest young MC, fires state-of-the-city barbs to contrast with Greg Bird’s hopeful yearning on ‘End Time Ministries’. Disco stomper ‘Don’t Make Your Life So Hard’ takes a sample from free jazz classic 'The Healer/Don't Break' by E.W. Wainwright and beautifully crescendos with soaring, caressing strings. Chilean Katy Prado plays the spurner to Tomlin Mystic’s spurned lover on ‘Major Crimes’.
‘Hudson’s Whistle’, the first single from the album, is a feel-good, hook-laden instrumental romp with melodies aplenty to tug on your heartstrings. ‘Good People’ features the soft optimistic harmonies of Maps (Mute Records), while Greg Bird appears like an angel in the chorus to sing of endeavouring to change and improve. The album closes with the reprise of ‘Good People’, rising from the ashes of life-transcending ‘Ugly Kids’ to burst into life, suggesting bright futures of gold. Free School have set sail for bolder territories on their new LP. Set your controls for the heart of the sun.
Free School signed to the renowned Tirk label in 2011 releasing their critically acclaimed LP ‘Tender Administration’. This followed two 12” EP releases, featuring remixes from Richard Norris (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve / The Time & Space Machine) and Mark E (Ghostly International) and a string of remixes for the likes of Roots Manuva, Phil Oakey and Maps (Mute). Their first 2 EPs on Static Caravan won the support of Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Gideon Coe & Gilles Peterson. The duo's live show features a live drummer, a string of guest vocalists and has seen them support Editors, Andrew Weatherall, Walls, Ulrich Schnauss and Fujiya & Miyagi. As well as playing Supersonic Festival & The Garden Festival (Croatia), Free School headlined the Rise Of Birmingham show to celebrate the launch of The Library Of Birmingham and held a residency in the Moog Sound Lab in June 2015.
– Stool Pigeon
"Like if you threw Daft Punk in a lake and listened to the ripples"
- Steve Lamacq (BBC 6Music)
“The sound of nu-disco outta nu-Birmingham”
– The Village Voice