Like Bad Company and Damn Yankees before them, these buzzed-about Philadelphia longhairs have a song on their debut that shares the name of their band — a sure sign that Free Energy are serious about having a good time. At least for the four minutes and 44 seconds of “Free Energy,” that is.
With its crinkly tinfoil guitar, snotty-sweet vocals, and head-nodding cowbell clanks, Stuck on Nothing’s killer opener is like the 1970s condensed down to one song, a magic-moments mash-up of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” Foghat’s “Slow Ride,” and Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town.” Shit rules.
The rest of the album, which was produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem (see above), never quite lives up to that early peak: “Bang Pop” rides a gnarly stadium-funk beat, and “Hope Child” pulls off a very convincing Pooh Sticks impression. Fortunately for Free Energy, they live in an era dominated by the single. Poor Foghat couldn’t say that.
FREE ENERGY + JUKEBOX THE GHOST + MINIATURE TIGERS | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | May 26 @ 9 pm | 617.864.EAST or mideastclub.com