Review: Fat Freddy’s Drop – Blackbird

Review: Fat Freddy’s Drop – Blackbird

Fat Freddy’s Drop – Blackbird
Track Listing:
1.) Blackbird
2.) Russia
3.) Clean The House
4.) Silver And Gold
5.) Bones
6.) Soldier
7.) Never Moving
8.) Mother Mother
9.) Bohannon

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: June 28th, 2013
Record Label: The Drop
Website: Fat Freddy’s Drop Website

Group Background:
Hailing from Wellington, New Zealand comes the seven piece, musical talents of Fat Freddys Drop. Starting off in the 90’s as an improve jam band, FFD have gone on to reach amazing success in their home country, Australia and Europe. They have received many RAINZ awards, as well as surpassing 800 shows worldwide, and a band poised to reach over half a million world-wide records sold. They have released two studio albums, Based On A True Story (2005) and Dr Boondigga & The Big BW (2009). Two live albums, Live At The Matterhorn (2001) and Live At Roundhouse (2010). Not to mention limited edition vinyl singles, including Midnight Marauders and Hope For A Generation.

Album Review:
Blackbird is only a nine-track album, but it only takes one song to get you hooked, and once you hear one, the rest is just a journey. FFD is known for their live improvisation and ability to jam, so you might think a studio album is a little challenging. Not in this case.

The first song is entitled “Blackbird”, a smooth jazz based track, with a hint of reggae, lots of soul, and a little funk. Joe Dukie lays down vocals that come to life, over an incredible horn piece played by the likes of Tony Chang (trumpet), Hopepa (trumbone), and Choppa Reedz (sax). The accompaniment of the percussion, keys, and guitar make this track stand out and set the tone for the rest of the album.

The second track “Russia” incorporates a reggae/dub verse with a New Zealand island inspiration. Track 3, “Clean the House” was released as the albums second single with a music video. Taking more of rock/reggae approach, this song is one of their biggest hits with its instrumental build-up that releases as the song progresses.

After the first half on the album comes two of my favorite tracks on Blackbird, “Bones” and “Mother, Mother.” “Bones” starts off with a catchy guitar riff and smooth, jazz horns. The song continues by adding some reggae inspired bass lines, and finishes out the last two minutes with some fluid jazzy/rock instrumentation.

“Mother, Mother” is a build-up, from start to end this track has an upbeat melody that gets you hooked early with a unique blend of jazz inspired electronic arrangements. As the song continues, percussion becomes a prominent tool in capturing the ear’s journey. Somewhere around the four and half-minute mark is where the song starts to gain momentum, and where FFD shows their true originality.

Fat Freddys Drop is outstanding in their ability to create, blend, and inspire musically. In Blackbird, they are able to bring an original raw sound that speaks across genres. But what truly got me hooked was that once a song started, I had to listen to the rest of the album in order to fulfill my FFD need.

Written & Reviewed By: Andrew McClatchy

[Editor’s Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]