Fren is a Polish four piece formation rooted in 2017. It took Oskar Cenkier (pianos, organs, synthesizers, mellotron), Michał Chalota (guitars), Andrew Shamanov (bass guitars, synthesizers) and Oleksii Fedoriv (drums) two years to deliver their debut album Where Do You Wants Ghosts To Reside. During my first listening session Fren succeeded to keep my attention for the entire running time (45 minutes) and to generate a lot of excitement in the six instrumental compositions (between 2 and 13 minutes). I am very pleasantly surprised by the maturity of Fren, this is only their debut, so what's next?!
1. Twin Peaks (4:41) : The album starts with a dreamy sound by different sections from the distinctive Mellotron, simply beautiful! Halfway a fragile electric guitar joins, reminding me of the melancholy Swedish prog from King Crimson inspired bands like Anekdoten, Landberk and Änglagård. The final part features a more bombastic atmosphere with powerful electric guitar and lush Hammond organ. The conclusion contains subtle Mellotron splashes, fading away, a very promising start from Fren.
2. Surge (9:43) : Now propulsive guitar work and soaring Mellotron, in a hypnotizing climate, I love the captivating blend of raw guitar and tender Mellotron, this creates a lot of tension. Then a mellow sound with subtle sensitive electric guitar and soaring Mellotron violins, pretty atmospheric. The music turns first into a slow beat and compelling climate with raw guitar, and then into more dynamic and lush, featuring a Mellotron flute and propulsive guitar riffs. Then changing into a slow down with again subtle electric guitar, the music strongly evokes early Anglagard to me. A strong point is the beautiful interplay between raw guitar and tender Mellotron sound. The final part delivers a mid-tempo, gradually it becomes more lush with bombastic keyboards and powerful guitar, culminating in a heavy final part with blistering guitar and dynamic drums.
3. Goraca Linia (2:59) : A short but elaborate piece with a catchy beat, delicate and sparkling jazzy piano and tight drums (another original musical idea), then propulsive guitar riffs. In the end early Hackett-like guitar in dynamic interplay with piano.
4. Pleonasm (12:02): This is Fren's magnum opus, opening with a dreamy, wonderful Grand piano intro. Then an accellaration, with sparkling piano and dynamic drums, turning into a slow rhythm featuring jazzy piano and drums, reminding me of early Emerson, Lake & Palmer. But next Fren is delivering lots of own musical ideas with surprising twist and turns, the focus is on awesome work on the Grand piano and very tasteful electric guitar, between dreamy and bombastic. The experimental parts evoke the quirkiness of early King Crimson. My conclusion is that Fren knows its classics but succeeds to add an own flavour.
5. Heavy Matter (6:23) : Here's another strong example how Fren blends 'the classics' and own musical ideas: lots of shifting moods, interesting musical ideas (from atmospheric like Änglagård to experimental like early King Crimson) and an excellent colouring by the keyboards (from sparkling piano to soaring Mellotron). In the second part the band works from dreamy to a compelling and sumptuous 'grand finale' featuring a moving guitar solo with howling runs (in the tradition of David Gilmour and Andy Latimer), lush Hammond joins, wow!
6. Time To Take Stones Away (8:41) : The final composition contains a slow rhythm, fiery and howling guitar, with a catchy beat. Then dreamy with sparkling Grand piano, gradually turning into a mid-tempo and bombastic with sparkling piano and a tight bass. Halfway a dreamy atmosphere, the sound is a bit experimental but then changing into a bombastic eruption featuring dynamic piano, delicate guitar and s dynamic rhythm-section (powerful drums).
Fren knows its classics but doesn't derivative, because the band delivers lots of own daring and adventurous musical ideas, how impressive, and what a mature sounding debut CD, thumbs up!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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