"Mondo Freudo" (Album, 2001)
It has taken me ages to get around to reviewing this ("What's new?" I hear you cry) but that's largely because I've hardly stopped playing it since it arrived. This is a real original. Constantly fascinating, deliciously morose at times, sometimes misguided and packed with moments of impressive flair. No two tracks are the same and in many respects this is quite a hit and miss affair. Mondo Freudo shows tremendous promise for the two guys behind it - Andrew Bridge and David Else. They probably just need more conviction in their own ideas rather than feel they have to fall back occasionally on some safer components.
Production wise, some of the sounds could do with more development and there sometimes too many preset-sounding keyboard parts and overly familiar drum and percussion samples. But composition is where Freudstein's talent really lies. Live This Lie is a darkly sublime and unconventional opener and sets the tone for the highlights of the rest of this thought-provoking debut. A masterstroke of concept and execution is Filthy Little Whore (Part 1). Built around the alarmingly innocent voice of 8-year old Solera Russell speaking about domestic violence, this packs an incredible punch. Guitars aside, the understated (but doom-laden) music provides the perfect backdrop to the child voice. The entire effect is as chilling as it is compulsive - haunting brilliance.
The midway intermission - a covert recording of a conversation between one of the band members and a job centre employee about missed appointments - is indicative of Freudstein's clever humour and originality. Swarf's lead vocalist Liz crops up on Shadows which, to these ears at least, could be a Swarf track. Essentially instrumental in nature, the remainder is unexpected and unpredictable, in spite of repeated listening. Even two years on, this remains the best Wasp Factory release to date. 7/10
Official Freudstein website: http://www.freudstein.co.uk