Album Review: Free School / ‘Tender Administration’ (Tirk)


Andy Porteous and Steve Alcock, dubbed ‘retro futurists’ of ‘crystalline electronica,’ are playing tug of war with the tractor beam of the mothership. Familiarizing lush comforts with backbone, the Birmingham UK brace lock onto an electro-synth vision of how galaxies and astronomy used to fancifully be considered, embodied by the charmingly future-past “Meet When The Moon is Full.” Free School are the fearless voyagers not exactly stepping into the unknown. But don’t worry if you think they’re navigating second hand dry ice, their widescreen shoots mean the cinematic sounds put you right in the cockpit.

Seeing the dreaminess jolted by spells of turbulence (“Ranting & Raving”), the atmosphere begins to ebb from fulsome to thin (“Spring Brings New Technology”), revealing that life in space can be a bit dull all on your lonesome. The uneventful “Lemon” works in Asian percussion to juxtapose the scenery, leading into prog instrumental “Time Breaks”. Curtailing a lively and optimistic start, the anticipation that Free School will be flying by the seat of their pants is eased back down to earth. Instrumentally it’s always rich and will be at the scene of many ‘I love you man’ comedowns or curls up with a duvet and telescope. You just wish that it would risk itself more instead of settling for middle of the road coordinates.
File under: Hybrid, Tropics, Lindstrøm