2016 – Treated and Released Records
By Phillip Smith; June 4, 2016
For those looking for a new spiritual leader, I’d like to recommend the good Reverend Freakchild. His latest album, Illogical Optimism is three discs of musical fun. The first disc is Odds, Ends and Other Amazingness. It features fifteen blues and boogie-laced tracks that make me grin from ear to ear. The second disc, Everything is New, contains a dozen stand-out remixes of Freakchild’s own “Everything is New”. Lastly, the third disc is called Kairos, and contains acoustic gospel blues songs from a former Florida preacher who goes by the name of Ramblin’ Jennings.
The Rev interestingly gives John Lennon’s “Imagine” the Lou Reed treatment. This is one cool track indeed. The good times roll as he takes on the Meters’ bayou-boogie classic ”Hey Pocky A-Way”. I love Freakchild’s rendition of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s look at mortality, “See That My Grave is Kept Clean”. This one stellar blues song. Freakchild brings the first disc to a close with a splash of weirdness and creativity in the gonzo inspired “Plastic Jesus Working On a Building”, which uses the traditional songs “Plastic Jesus” and “Working On a Building” as bookends to contain a myriad of random sounds and song-bits.
On disc number two, in which all the tracks are variants of the same song, Freakchild is careful to give each track a unique and distinct sound. Drummer Chris Parker lays down a trippy beat for Freakchild to break the funk out ala George Clinton style in my favorite track, “Once Upon a Time Called Right Now”. I also really like the hillbilly version “Alla Gotta Na’” too. Co-producer Sal Paradise lends his breath and harmonica as the Rev breaks out the banjo. For the multi-linguist, Freakchild also includes both French and German versions.
The third and final disc features eight tracks from a different reverend. Armed with just a guitar and harmonica, Ramblin’ Jennings shares the gospel by playing the blues, and he does it with a lot of heart, soul, and authenticity. Stand-out songs include”Safe in the Storm”, “I Saw A Wheel”, and “Silver Sandals”.
Give the Reverend Freakchild a listen. You will not be disappointed.