CD: 10 Songs; 33:36 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Rock and Blues Rock
Even though advances in technology have helped our global society to become more connected than ever, these are still Times of Division. Denmark quintet Freddy and the Phantoms, while mincing no words and no guitar riffs, would do well to remember that one of the divisions that still stands for most fans is the one between rock and blues. Purists might especially fault these five for disguising a pure rock album as a blues album. One of the tracks, “Borderline Blues”, does contain the name of this magazine’s favorite topic, but that doesn’t mean it’s a blues song. Reviewed below is the CD’s finale, “Morning Sun”, which has a style slightly reminiscent of the Allman Brothers. Will that be enough to earn a spot on listeners’ playlists? Let’s let them decide. As it stands, this release is an energetic effort, with above-average vocals and powerhouse tunes.
Freddy and the Phantoms consist of Frederik Schnoor on lead vocals and guitars, harpist Rune Hansen, Trommer on tambourines and backing vocals, Morten Rahm on pedal-steel guitars, Mads Wilken on bass and background vocals, and Anders Haahr on organ and backing vocals.
According to the “Bio” section of their website, “The Danish blues-rock group Freddy and the Phantoms, from Copenhagen, are ready with their third album Times of Division. [They] have already convinced the Danish rock press, played more than 85 concerts in 2014, and received massive airplay on Danish national radio. Praised as a Danish version of the retro blues rock wave lead by Rival Sons and Graveyard, Freddy and the Phantoms are ready to conquer Europe.
“The Copenhagen based 5-piece has had a public breakthrough in 2014, with a massive tour in Denmark as house band for the famous Danish comedian Frank Hvam (known from KLOVN)… As a live act, Freddy and the Phantoms have impressed audiences all over Denmark, played at Smukfest 14 (the 2 biggest festivals in Denmark) and proven themselves as a band of international quality, and supported legends as The Eagles (US) and Rick Springfield (US).”
“The Singles “On the Sidewalk” and “Storm On the Riverside” has already made it to heavy rotation on DR P4, the biggest radio broadcast service in DK, and music journalists have praised the album.”
What’s the bottom line here? Freddy and the Phantoms have made news, but they don’t play much blues. The song below sounds the most like it:
Track 10: “Morning Sun” – With an intro and harmonic vocals to die for, this should have been the opening track instead of the closer. Anders Haahr is fantastic on keyboards, as are all the guitarists. One might imagine Duane Allman on steroids during the solo in the middle. More than halfway through, it turns into pure psychedelic rock, but that’s a minor problem.
No one should expect genre-related purity from a band that describes itself on its Facebook page as playing “classic rock, blues rock & psychedelic”. Nevertheless, rock-and-roll diehards will flock to Times of Division like ships flock into Copenhagen’s harbors!