by Alex Monzel
The expatriates of the music world, Free Pizza, have just released their third musical venture entitled Berlin, DE. Hailing from Boston and now living in Berlin, Free Pizza is comprised of Jesus Vio, Santiago Cardenas, and Nick Rasmussen. I think my lactose intolerance makes me a bit inherently biased against cheese-based bands, but I’ll try to be objective, I promise.
Free Pizza’s album titles appear to reflect their locations (as evidenced by their previous venture, Boston, MA), sort of similar to how Adele’s albums reflect her age. That being said, I personally find the geographical titling system to be more interesting than age-based titles. Age is mandated. You can’t not progress through the years, so each record will be inherently different from the last because it has to be. Location, however, represents a conscious choice to gain perspective, and the lyrics, in turn, reflect this breadth of acquired culture. Portions of “Juliet” are sung in French; there appears to be a soft German accent on some lyrics; references to the evolution of European culture in “Slipping,” etc. Free Pizza made an effort to evolve, and it shows in especially in their songwriting.
The lyrics are certainly the strongest part of this musical effort. They posses a solid surface layer that allows them to pass through your ears undetected if you so desire and a strong deeper meaning with enough ambiguity to let the listener fill in the blanks. All in all, they leave you feeling something or thinking maybe it is really just about a pot of water, like in “Patience.”
This piece of praise being said, however, the voice producing these wonderful words misses the mark. Overall, Free Pizza seems to be heavily influenced by The Cure, but this weak link is more than just a stylistic mismatch. Jesus Vio’s vocals feel forced on the faster paced songs to the point that it detracts from the lyrics and impressive accompaniment. This may lead you to believe that the whole record won’t sound great, as did I, but don’t be fooled. Though the album starts off with driving beats (and doesn’t seem to want to quit), the tempo slows by the third track and the vocals are given room to relax, pace themselves, and get the proper production treatment.
Give the record a listen. Even if you don’t like it, you’ve only wasted maybe thirteen minutes.