Advanced Copy: FreeBass

Around this time last year, an English super group by the name of Bad Lieutenant released its debut album “Never Cry Another Tear.” The band was comprised of former members of New Order, Joy Division and Blur. Their experience showed in their music, creating an album of vintage ’60s pop and sophisticated song-writing, albeit sometimes too reminiscent of their predecessors but nonetheless different from their previous excursions.

Now another band with a similar background looks to start its own British invasion. FreeBass is a super group of Brits that brings a more unique idea to the table of what a band is capable of. Formed in 2005, the band actually started out with three bassists: Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order), Mani Mounfield (Stone Roses, Primal Scream) and Andy Rourke (the Smiths). With guys like this in your band, how could you possibly fail? Well, apparently egos got the best of the band as they affably broke up the project back in September before their album, “It’s A Beautiful Life,” was released in the United Kingdom.

Come December, the United States will finally get a chance to hear what concludes five years worth of work. The album is a lot different than the previous New Order super group; it’s darker and more adventurous than the Bad Lieutenant project, which is probably a reflection of the time and care that were put into the recording of the album.

For the most part, “It’s A Beautiful Life” is a pretty straightforward and enjoyable listen. Many elements of the band members’ previous work are incorporated nicely, like in the gentle ’80s alternative pop of “Not Too Late.”

The band harmonizes effortlessly on vocals, and Garry Briggs’ (Haven & the Strays) breathy vocals fill what little space is left in this heavy sound of theirs. “Lady Violence” is a song that flat-out rocks in a way that only guys with this much experience and talent could, flirting along the lines of shoegaze, new wave and psychedelia.

Yet, for every good moment on this album, there are times where FreeBass just get plain old weird. “Stalingrad” is a disproportionate reggae tune that lacks any sort of melody, and its vocals are low and spacey, getting lost in the song’s overall oddity. “Kill Switch Pt. 141” is another strange addition to this album that doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the album’s feel, as it seems the band is trying a little too hard to be different.

Noel Gallagher of Oasis once praised the Stone Roses for being Oasis’ biggest influence, and certainly there are moments on here, like in the song “She Said,” that recall the later days of new wave and the beginning of Brit-pop. In a way, “It’s A Beautiful Life” depends on the band’s back story, for perhaps with any other band this would be a mediocre listen. No doubt, the album is the product of five years of hard work, which at times really shows but at others makes you wonder how much work exactly the members of FreeBass put into this album.