I’ve been waiting a long time to finally get the courage to review somebody from the indescribably pure and mindblowingly amazing record label Underwater Peoples.
There have been opportunities before this, with artists like the dreamy Real Estate or the fuzzy-bedroom-punky Frat Dad or the beeping and buzzing of Ducktails or so on and so forth. But, I could never do it. The music found on this label isn’t just your run of the mill indie pop or even indie progressive/experimental bull plop. It’s something that can’t be put into words, at least not by me.
So I waited, hoping maybe another, more articulate columnist would come forth and review. But that would be impossible. This music isn’t meant to be reviewed in print. It’s meant to be heard and appreciated and discussed among friends. So we have waited. It took the soaring guitar of Alex Bleeker and the Freaks and their self-titled album to give me the balls (or the naiveté) to try to describe the kind of music that this label puts out.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard guitar like the kind that Bleeker plays on this album — and it’s not that he tries to impress you with some fancy new effects or any of that bullshit. No, this is just an electric guitar with some reverb on it. Simple, in its own way, Bleeker plays the most sincere and honest guitar I do think I have ever heard in my entire life. It’s practiced, but not rehearsed; it’s a guitar that sounds like anyone of us could play but could never recreate.
He plays with such a poetry that it pushes me to new heights of nostalgia for the creativity, curiosity and fear in youth — my fear in youth of infinity, my fear of going to heaven because I knew it would last forever, the idea of forever, the idea of going on and on and on and then not even being close to being done because it would never end. The guitar reminds me of how I never think about that sort of thing anymore, how I’m not nearly as clever as I was when I was 7.
And if Bleeker is the angel of shredding, the freaks are the choir that gives him the glory. They are the ones that shake the earth to awaken everybody to the message. I could say that this album has been a genuinely divine experience for me and not feel as if I were over-hyping it.
And it’s a shame that I don’t know enough about music to point out the technical aspects that propel me to these heights. But then again, I guess if we could all say exactly why, God wouldn’t be worth all the trouble (whoa buddy, that’s blasphemous, but, dude, it’s that kind of experience for me).
Before I leave without having told you anything tangible about the band, I’ll give you some concrete things about the label (Underwater Peoples). Based in New Jersey, the label “aims to discover, release and promote new artists with a progressive vision.” According to their Web site, underwaterpeoples.com, they operate without the confines of a genre and promote collaboration amongst their artists.
One of their artists, Family Portrait, will be coming to town over spring break. This band and the label is definitely worth, at least, a looksie.