Photo: Rob Williamson / Courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR

Once & Future Band Delight with the Dense Psychedelic Pop Spectacle of “Freaks” (premiere)

"Freaks", the latest single from psych-popsters, Once & Future Band, is a triumphant blend of mesmeric harmonies and vibrant celebration.

Oakland, California’s Once & Future Band is nothing if not eclectic. Founded in 2012, the quartet—keyboardist/vocalist Joel Robinow, bassist/vocalist Eli Eckert, drummer Raj Ojha, and guitarist/vocalist Raze Regal—mix bits and pieces of late ’60s and early ’70s psychedelic pop, jazz-rock, fusion, and progressive rock to yield warmly sophisticated yet welcoming tunes. As a result, they evoke greats like the Beach Boys, early Chicago, Beardfish, Paul McCartney, Kindo, Steely Dan, and Knifeworld while effortlessly exuding their flavor beneath it all. Although every track on their upcoming record, Deleted Scenes, offers a winning blend of vibrant energy and sing-along bliss, the fifth tune, “Freaks”, may just be the most exuberant, accessible, and joyful of them all.

Deleted Scenes follows Once & Future Band’s 2017’s eponymous LP, which garnered praise from outlets like Mojo, Modern Drummer, The Guardian, and Uncut. Likewise, they’ve shared the stage with many major acts, including Tool, Foxygen, Dungen, and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. As for “Freaks” itself, Robinow confesses that it arose in the aftermath of a fight he had with an old girlfriend.

He continues: “I just thought of this guy ineffectually trying to enact revenge, but everyone knows he’s full of shit. I was listening to a lot of Nilsson and ELO then—and still am—so that’s likely the musical inspiration. I feel like Danny Levin really nailed the vibe, too; he does all of our horn arrangements by proxy in LA, where we mail him the tracks and he works his magic on them. if you listen carefully, you can hear me saying a mixture of ‘have someone’ and ‘got someone’ in the triple-tracked vocals, creating a new possessive word, ‘Gavt’, which basically means: ‘Fool, you never had her in the first place.'”

Levin’s contributions are definitely an essential part of the song’s melodic and emotional heft; that said, the strongest attribute of all is likely the group’s tight and upbeat harmonies. They burst from the speakers from the jump and never let up, creating a highly catchy and whimsical blanket on which the dynamic instrumentation—such as sharp guitar sweeps and punchy rhythms—bounce around like an afternoon of fun summertime escapades. It’s a sublime compromise between complex arrangements and easy-to-love poppy songwriting, and it does a great job of showcasing what makes Deleted Scenes as a whole so irresistible.

Don’t just take our word for it, though. Check out “Freaks” for yourself and see if you get lost in its psychedelic majesty, too. If so, be sure to preorder Deleted Scenes (which arrives on April 10th via Castle Face Records) here when you can.

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