Freebass – It’s A Beautiful Life

January 01, 1970

(24 Hour Service Station/Hacienda)


You might expect a project revolving around a trio of
prominent bass players in the rock idiom performing under the name Freebass
would be a vanity job conjured by such technical stylists of the art as Billy
Sheehan, Les Claypool and Geddy Lee. But in reality, this imaginative act is
the product of former Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook along with
ex-Stone Roses bassist Mani Mounfield and Andy Rourke of The Smiths, who all
deliver an illuminating update of the Manchester
baggy rock sound on their impressive debut It’s
A Beautiful Life
. Shapeshifting its structure across a solid 13 tracks to
include elements of modern English dance music, Ruts-esque dub and Northern
soul, Hook, Mani and Rourke are in top form as a collective here given the case
of such key album tracks as “Lady Violence”, “Stalingrad”, “The God Machine”
and “Sister Surrender”. The music featured within is further enhanced by the remaining line-up of
Freebass, as the group is rounded out by Man Ray’s Phil Murphy on keyboards and
programming and former Haven frontman Gary Briggs, plus the formidable chops of
session musicians Nat Wason on guitar and drummer Paul Kehoe.


It’s nothing short of a stroke of luck that we are able to
hear this album here in the States.  In
September of this past 2010, the group announced they were calling it quits.
“Recent events have made Freebass entirely unviable as a band,” read the
statement on the group’s Web site, a message that made no airs of the band
being a done deal. Still, Hook, Rourke and Mani apparently were all in
agreement to forego their own bruised egos and allow this great music they have
spent the last five years creating together be heard by the masses. This
American edition of It’s A Beautiful Life features a bonus disc containing all three of the digitally released EPs
that coincided with the release of the LP, including Two Worlds Collide – The Instrumental Mixes, the Fritz von Runte Freebass Redesign of
early singles “Dark Starr” and “You Don’t Know This About Me”, a song that is
also thoroughly featured on the Arthur Baker Remixes EP.


Let’s just wait and see if the next steps taken by these
three gentlemen will bring about anything as magnetic as the work they did as
Freebass. That is, of course, unless they all move on to simultaneously
participate in the reunions of their respective primary bands. As farfetched a
notion as that may be, stranger things have happened, haven’t they?  I mean, if birds can fall from the sky, how much
closer are we to a Smiths/Stone Roses/Joy Division triple bill before the
so-called Mayan D-Day?


DOWNLOAD:  “Lady Violence”, “Stalingrad”, “She Said”,
“Sister Surrender”, “The Milky Way Is Our Playground (Instrumental Mix)”, “Dark
Starr (Fritz von Runte Redesign)”, “You Won’t Know This About Me (Arthur Baker
Vocal Mix)” RON HART


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