There's something about Free Energy's uncompromisingly brazen attempt to make you giggle and jive that makes me loath them like nothing I've heard this year. The way Stuck on Nothing, the band's first album, has so little emotional depth is so frustrating, I often imagine myself fainting and sinking into a cavernous abyss where I'll keep trying to eat an infinite amount of nauseating icing to get to that coveted, warm, welcoming cupcake if I listen to it for too long.
Unfortunately, I would be lying to you if I said a significant portion of Stuck on Nothing wasn't quite catchy. The best example of this is "Bang Pop", whose rudimentary bass drum kick and snare combination may not turn heads, but whose streamlined guitars and rousing chorus put it on the good side of Candyland. The rest varies from the entertaining to the mundane, but all have that shit-eating grin that some may find refreshing but I find irrevocably repulsive.
Stuck on Nothing was originally recorded as a bare-bones demo, but, once it was give to James Murphey of LCD Soundsystem fame, it became the over-produced, nutrient-free Cheesy Crust Pizza of an album it is, now. I don't want people to think I hate this album, because it just wants you to, at the very least, dance. In most cases, I find that quality nice in albums, and, unlike something like Raditude, these affectless ditties are supported with some pretty good songwriting talent. There's just something about this album that resembles a sneeringly disingenuous politician, but, at the same time, a band who would be genuinely offended by my smearing of their debut album as such. It is this contradiction that lies at the heart of the quality of Stuck on Nothing, a veritable brick of cane sugar, but one that will surprise you in how much you can stand it before collapsing from exhaustion.