The journey to Refused‘s comeback album has been turbulent, with three lead singles that have varied greatly in quality. Debut single “Elektra” (spin here) was nothing revolutionary, but it was a vintage Refused banger that had me sufficiently stoked for the new record. Then “Françafrique” dropped (spin here), one of the worst songs that the band has ever released and a serious stroke of doubt regarding the quality of Freedom. The final pre-release single “Dawkins Christ” (spin here), which falls somewhere in between the first two singles in terms of quality. Now, after such a mixed initial launch, Freedom is now available for streaming, which may be done after the jump:
While not a worthy successor to Shape of Punk to Come, the remainder of the tracks on Freedom come together with the aforementioned three to form a decent enough album that demonstrates a markedly aged version of the Refused that fans have come to adore. There are plenty of vintage Refused moments in the vein of “Elektra,” and while none of them hit as hard as the band have struck before, they still perform with a tenacity and ferocity unrivaled by most other bands. What ultimately bogs down Freedom is an abundance of additional elements that feel like experimentation without a complete grasp of what the end result should be. Refused do not necessarily need to stay within their safe formula, and if their is another album that follows Freedom, it may be nice to see where more refined sonic journeying could lead the band. But the instances of electronics, horns and some country and hard rock among the track listing here are often hit or miss, sometimes coming across as interesting but mostly sounding out of place or poorly executed. Refused may have come back, but Freedom is not necessarily the comeback record that many fans (myself included) hoped to receive.
Whether or not Freedom will receive a full Heavy Blog review remains to be seen, but in the meantime, the album may be ordered here.