photo and introduction by Andrew Stellmon
FREAKABOUT signaled at big changes when the Lincoln four-piece rock band dropped the spooky, self-shot video for “Yellow Light” in January 2017. The group’s first new single since March 2015 debut Don’t We All contained all the heavy-riffing and vocal show-stopping that made them a local mainstay and launched nationwide touring, but some things were a little different. Among the most obvious was a new rhythm section, comprising bassist Ben Frerichs and drummer Ian Francis. The video hints at a darkly imposing new energy. And as for the song itself, it showcased Aaron Galvan’s searing guitar work and Cortney Kirby’s powerful, booming vocal abilities.
“Yellow Light” amounted to a major radio-worthy preview of FREAKABOUT’s forthcoming sophomore LP Babezooka, a brisk 32-minute romp which finds the band packing a bold lyrical attitude and mind-bending heaviness. Entrancing harmonies, snake-charming leads and pounding rhythms swirl around each other in a psychedelic cloud of smoke. It crushes as hard as Black Sabbath or fellow Lincoln rockers Laughing Falcon while injecting technical nuance and a healthy amount of blues influence to color each song differently. In its best moments, the quartet finds a groove and rides it out to often spectacular conclusions.
At the center of it all is Kirby, who has leveled-up as both a vocalist and songwriter. She flexes a more dynamic range on songs like “Queen of the Dust” and “Predator” — both of which we’ll hear tonight (and the latter of which received its own trippy video release). Kirby’s voice is authoritative and cathartic at its highest points, a fact which helps underscore the subtle and, at times, chilling social and political themes she addresses. It’s one of the many ways this band embodies the explosiveness suggested by its new album’s title.
Now, here’s FREAKABOUT with “Mountains.”
Hosting, introduction, interview and photo by Andrew Stellmon
Live audio mixing by Micah Stryker