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Free School - Dancing on the Dark

  by Maarten Schiethart

published: 25 / 11 / 2015

Free School - Dancing on the Dark
Label: Static Caravan
Format: CD


Eccentric but inventive album from Birmingham-based band Free School, which takes some of its influence from 1980's electronica

As the Midlands' well overdue answer to those icons of the 1980s Spandau Ballet, Free School flirts equally well with Eurodisco/pop as it does with hip and streetwise electronica. Putting an extra M into IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) but standing for message now though, in comes this flowing pattern of blasting Banlieux Brum banter. It is brilliantly Brum topped with subtle doses from some of the other corners of the world of music. Free School serves as an evolving stage platform to MCs like Tomlin Mystic and Greg Bird, as well as to musicians who elsewhere would have been denied an audience. This pastiche makes the 1980 antics of Thompson Twins a.k.a. Human League a.k.a. Tubeway Army sound so difficult to grasp. Yet from the outset of the first track 'Love Calling', Free School cries out for a message, while at the same longing back to the music which inspired 'Dancing On The Dark'. This outdated sound nearly qualifies as vintage and thus 'Ugly Kids', the album's hammering anthem, fully deserves to get to Number One. Or at least on behalf of Lichtenstein to win the Euro-so-so-song Festival. The spell in the break towards the latter half is absolutely gorgeous. It is perfect to read out traffic information to as well. It is as if pupils from the School of House Music Expertise brought together schoolyard pranksters and aspiring composers. The album that results from this is like the music on a compilation, following clumsy charm with sheer brilliance.

Track Listing:-
1 Love Calling
2 French Cousins
3 End Time Ministries
4 Don't Make Your Life so Hard
5 Major Crimes
6 Hudson's Whistle
7 Good People
8 Ugly Kids
9 Good People (Reprise)

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