Freak Kitchen is a band that’s been with me on and off for ages. I first heard them when they released their debut album “Appetizer” back in 1994 and I’ve seen the band live numerous times through the years. When the new album turned up among the ones that needed to be reviewed this month I jumped at the chance. Despite my nostalgic tie to Freak Kitchen I still think that their absolute musical prime lies some years behind them by now. Not that they’ve ever made a bad record and their musical abilities are at a level just as insane as ever. For me personally it would be considered a mammoth task to ever top “Dead Soul Men” (2000) and “Move” (2002).
There are both things familiar and things estranged on the band’s latest release “Confusion to the Enemy”. The main points of recognition is of course Mattias “IA” Eklundh’s unmistakable guitar playing and voice, he also has a sense for melodies that is quintessentially Freak Kitchen and nothing else. No other band sound like this. Their special blend of dead serious subjects and musicality mixed with their Gothenburg sense of humor is intact and there’s still some great song writing here.
The album starts of reasonably straight forward with the Freak Kitchen typical “Morons”, which is a great take on the depravity of the world from IA’s point of view. This is followed by “Alone with my Phone” that has a great chorus, which is somewhat reminding me of King’s X, and then a fast track named “Så kan det gå när inte haspen är på” sung in Swedish. This is a strong opening trio, combining the bands prog abilities with great song writing, which heightens my expectations for the rest of the album. Track number four, a heavy number called “Troll”, has amazing melodies and is strangely eery and dark. Again I think of King’s X. The album’s title track shows of the more progressive side of Freak Kitchen and has a repetitive refrain that might stem from IA’s love for Indian music. It’s still a great and memorable track that sticks to your head and has some very interesting passes in its composition.
Unfortunately after track 5 is where it stops being exciting for me. The rest of the songs aren’t bad, I enjoy them while listening, they’re just not very memorable or exciting enough. If the rest of the songs were as strong as the opening 5 this could’ve been a new “Move”, on which every song is a smash hit. Since that’s not the case the record as a whole is good, but not much more. The opening 5 songs though – great stuff!
Band: Freak Kitchen
Title: Confusion to the Enemy
Label: Thunderstruck Productions
Date of release: 2018-09-21
Stand out track: Troll