Freeman – “Freeman” – Across The Ocean

Freeman – “Freeman”

When Aaron Freeman (the artist formerly known as Gene Ween) called an abrupt halt to his eclectic band Ween in May 2012, it felt to many long term fans that a small part of them had died.

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This was a band that had been responsible for many years of laughter, tears and downright confusion. Above all, they seemed eternal. As Freeman‘s former Weenite Mickey Melchiondo (aka Dean Ween) put so succinctly “You can’t leave this band, it’s a life sentence”. However, behind the scenes Aaron Freeman was unravelling. Years of overzealous drug and alcohol consumption had taken their toll to the point where he concluded that departure from Ween was his only realistic means of survival.

Emerging from this dance with oblivion with his first batch of original post-Ween material, it is clear Freeman has experienced an epiphany of sorts.

Sober and free, there is an overall joyous feel to the 12 acoustic tracks that occasionally borders on religious.

As much as it is generally buoyant the opening minutes certainly don’t feel that way. The cathartic Covert Discretion commences with melancholic finger picking as we are taken on an achingly honest reflection of his plummet into despair. After this poignant build up the track explodes triumphantly as Freeman emphatically announces “fuck you all I got a reason to live“. It is the sound of a man escaping his demons.

What follows is predominantly a sunny day record. Candid self reflection is a reoccuring theme but in true style is interlaced with sporadic dollops of tomfoolery. Golden Monkey and the reggae flavoured Black Bush are simultaneously beautiful and asinine. The Eastern influenced El Shaddai sees us inexplicably battling on horseback in the desert whilst The English And Western Stallion boasts an epic feel but is hard to listen to without chuckling.

Elsewhere Freeman‘s penchant for the occasional cheesy ballad surfaces with More Than The World and Delicate Green.

As with everything the man has done every new song holds the promise of suprise, and this is at its most evident with the verbosely titled (For A While) I Couldn’t Play My Guitar Like A Man, apparently influenced by a certain Mr Jack Black.

Rising from the rubble of his shattered state of mind, Aaron Freeman has produced an inspiring piece of work. And whilst we may never see Ween again, the main man is back with new found fervour and in the form of his life.

Freeman – Freeman is released July 22nd, pre-purchase from Partisan Records here.

Gavin Stocker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Outside of Across The Ocean Gavin Stocker writes, records and performs music under the moniker of P Truck.

He can also be found clinging to his youth on a skateboard or wandering aimlessly through the bush.
Gavin Stocker