Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Conor Deery, bassist Josh Jackson-Drewett and lead guitarist Sebastian Morrison are the driving force behind the Adelaide, South Australia rock band Free From Burden.
Their debut record A Tale of Bats & Butterflies is an eclectic mixture of rock styles which stems from each member bringing their own musical taste to the songs and then mixing those tastes together. It is a very open process and one that can at times result in a mixed bag of songs with the band often defending itself by claiming they don’t want to pigeonhole their sound, though what it means is that they lack any sense of direction.
A Tale of Bats & Butterflies opens with the five-and-a-half-minute lounge rocker “(bracket)” which combines murderous sounding piano with searing guitar and window shattering cymbal crashes which all come to a head and are swept up in a fury of string. Crying out from this miasma is Deery who does an excellent job of displaying his range from a nearly perfect Jeff Buckley impression during the mellower parts and then rises to sound like an angry version of Morrissey.
This display is even more charismatic on the six minute “Bats & Butterflies” which again delves into the slow roll of rock and quiet interludes before the wave slowly builds up and comes crashing down again in a fit of furious guitar, drums and piano. As to not deviate from this formulaic musical equation they use it again on the piano pounding rocker “Blue.” However they are saved somewhat by their last track “Set Me Alight” which is fun and shimmery and recalled for me the happier pop punk elements of a band like Smoking Popes.
If I were to weigh in with my opinion, which I am, I’d tell Free From Burden to ditch the formulaic sad piano rock and start making the uppity heart on your sleeve pop punk that makes “Set Me Alight” such a standout. Over time I’ve come to notice that many vocalists tend to write the same sad sappy lyrics that have this dark and edgy wantonness to them. And musically so many indie bands write the same song over and over and try to pass it off as different. Many of those bands don’t have the glimmer of hope that Free From Burden does, and that should take at least a little weight off of their shoulders.
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