A welcome return to bubblegum synthpop and silliness.
Freezepop have been away for a while working on new material. Perhaps like me, you may have first discovered them playing Harmonix games. I fell in love with them with Frequency and Amplitude and it is great they stayed with Harmonix into Rockband too. Returning in the last few months with two new singles, I wanted to shine a light on how Freezepop make the format of Maxi-Single truly work for them.
Singles are seemingly a dying practice as albums become EPs as everyone falls foul of the ‘you need to constantly release material all the time to stay in our algorithm’ streaming services. Freezepop has utterly bucked the trend by sticking with Maxi-Singles. By definition, these singles contain more than one A-side or B-side and often are chock full of remixes. As the charts define a single as ‘less than 20 minutes’, they don’t chart – so its more of a love letter to fans.
Freezepop has released two of these for their singles. Most recently today, ‘Fantasizer’ comes with the main quirky synthpop gem single. The track is a mix of old and new Freezepop and packs a punch with a great pre-chorus and fun chorus. B-Side ‘Love is A Laser’ is quintessential synthpop. Its got silly lyrics for geeks, a big beat and plenty of cheesy charm that harks back to their stunning debut. Also here are two versions of another song called ‘Babes’. Both versions slot directly into that chilled synthwave vibe that has become so popular with 80s nostalgia at the moment.
Then we have eight different remixes and alternative versions of the title track! Some are club stompers (Night Fantasy), some evoke MIDI Soft Cell (Tantalizer 81 Version), there’s a chiptune version (Computerizer Version) and amazingly an acoustic guitar version (Daydream Version). That acoustic version has a Spanish drama to it that I love. Who else gives this amount of value in a simple single release for an extra dollar or two?
Previous single ‘Anchor to the World Below’ follows a similar pattern. This single is slightly darker, almost channelling Fischerspooner and other dark electronica bands. There are five remixes following the same vein too. Here the Computerizer version is a great addition, as is the Dreamhouse version that takes us to early 90’s house music.
Two other tracks join the fun. ‘Dance Ambition’ has a 7″ and a 12″ Mix. It is low key Marc Almond does Eurovision. It is also a bit darker than most of Freezepop’s output which suits the single – as does ‘Bubblebath’. ‘Bubblebath’ is the closing track on the Maxi-Single that uses synth brass and stabbing bass to make a cute military vibe. It sounds like an RTS game taking place in the bath. What more can I say?
Whilst I’m delighted that the synthpop joy that is Freezepop have returned, I really wanted to highlight just what a great format the Maxi-Single is too. Utilised to great effect, both of these singles offer over 40 minutes of music each for the same price as an EP. Its a forgotten art, but I’m delighted someone is still keeping it alive. Parlez Vous Freezepop? OUI!
Recommended track: Fantasizer
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