Fridge: The Sun
Temporary Residence

On this first band outing since 2001's Happiness, Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) may be the major drawing card, but Fridge is clearly a group effort with the restless navigator joined by long-time band-mates Adem Ilhan (aka Adem) and Sam Jeffers. The Sun's ten tracks generally exude a loose and relaxed feel characteristic of jams though a few exhibit the kind of emotional sweep at which kindred bands The Timeout Drawer and Explosions In the Sky excel; it's also an album of contrasts, specifically between more open-ended workouts and through-composed settings, and aggressive and quieter pieces. Thus one encounters lovely moments of meditative placidity (“Our Place in This,” “Years and Years and Years”) countered by the post-rock heaviosity of “Eyelids” where a stabbing guitar part leads the raw charge. “Clocks” and “Lost Time” also leave a strong impression. Despite its fixation on a singular direction, the former's slow-build is ear-catching while the latter's multi-layered weave of wordless vocals and chiming guitars proves entrancing; even better is the tune's uproarious climax. More heavily structured than most of the tracks here, “Comets” opens with bright synth flares before acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, and piano chords flesh out the tune with analogue warmth. “Oram” and “Insects” recall the wide-eyed, explorative vibe of Everything Ecstatic, with the latter in particular Eastern-influenced in its hazy swirls of flutes and bells. In the long run, The Sun won't displace Rounds and Everything Ecstatic from the upper echelon of Hebden's oeuvre but it's a solid enough collection nonetheless.

June 2007