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Pop Some Freezepop Into Your CD Player

Sprinkle Your Life With Technicolor Pixie Dust

By Chikako Sassa

staff writer

Fancy Ultra-Fresh


Archenemy Record Company

May 25, 2004

As homage to spring, that pitifully brief harbinger of summer, and to all her entourage of horticulturally tinkered crocuses, tulips and dahlias in their Technicolor splendor, I recommend popping a brand new Freezepop CD into your PC. The music and the digitally enhanced goodies will deliver a mild sugar high with no nutritional value.

Freezepop’s latest collection of electronic ear candy, “Fancy Ultra-Fresh,” still abounds with blippy buoyancy, but is decidedly more introspective than their previous releases in a dreamy, vulnerable sort of way. Songs of puppy-slush love and celestial meanderings add a wistful touch. On the whole, their new collection is more polished and nuanced than “Freezepop Forever,” though their debut predecessor excelled in sheer originality and farcical power. For example, their parodied karaoke video of “Tenisu no Boifurendo (Tennis Boyfriend)” achieves a hilarity that no high-budget high-gloss music video could hope to attain.

Freezepop endears itself to local fans in Boston and around the world by virtue of their self-mockery. Any band that comes up with songs that combines the words “duct tape” and “romance” does not take themselves seriously. The trio creates odes to urban pop culture and snazzily packages their products with the help of a talented group of digital artists and programmers, including Liz Enthusiasm, the vocalist-cum-Web site manager and Flash moviemaker.

The Duke, who wields a hand-held sequencer by Yamaha, and the Other Sean T. Drinkwater, who mans a Roland synthesizer, make up the rest of the trio. Together, they explore the infinite possibilities of electronica music and weave together strands of plastic gems with happy vibes. Virtually any sound can be mixed, sampled, and juxtaposed to any other sound from varying historical or cultural origins. The unexpected combinations create humor and insight into quirky human behavior, Gameboys, and photons.

“Stakeout” is undeniably the cream of the crop on the album. Liz Enthusiasm sings about a hackneyed scheme of girl-ensnares-unwitting-boy with her charming combination of girly guile and stalker attitude. The lyrics are deceptively simple, and Enthusiasm is by no means an exceptional vocalist, but the celery-like crispness of her voice and deadpan delivery matches well with the polyphony of blippy electronica.

“Emotions & Photons” is the other masterpiece, colored by the Duke’s wistful sing-song whisper and textured by an intricate interlacing of multiple blippy melodies, kaleidoscopic and resplendent. The song would provide suitable background music for both a luxurious lull in a Sunday afternoon and a dawning sky after a night of serious tooling.

As I write this, sharing an Amtrak compartment with a group of Amish travelers, the emotional reductionism of Freezepop is poignant against a rolling bucolic landscape of Pennsylvania. Freezepop cannot reign in a world devoid of electricity and shiny modern appliances.

The lack of emotional complexity is by choice, of course, and Freezepop is likely to prove a soft addiction for urbanites with an unexplained penchant for twizzlers and nerds.