For the last five years I’ve had a not-so-secret love affair with a couple of guys called The Freemasons. These (two) guys are a DJ-House-Remix kind of outfit. Over the last half decade their music has had a huge influence on me.
A friend of mine introduced me to “Uninvited” in 2010 and I never looked back. I quickly sought out and purchased Shakedown 1, a superb album of remixed tunes – the like of which I’d never heard before, it was just pulse racing stuff. Some quite ordinary but good songs reworked to sound amazing. I quickly moved onto Shakedown 2 which was an order of magnitude better and easily one of the best albums I have ever heard. Every single track just made you gasp, how could anything sound so good?
Needless to say I have played both those albums HUNDREDS of times – they are that good.
I then discovered other tracks they’ve done; “Green Light”, “Beautiful Liar” and “Ring the alarm” by Beyoncé and many, many more examples of a quite good song turned into an amazing opus by the boys from Brighton.
They then released a number of free tracks, Summer ‘11 Mix and various other ‘bootys’ including Firework by Katy Perry to name but a few.
And all the time we were waiting for Shakedown 3.
Five years is a long time to wait, a long time to build up the anticipation and expectation. The Freemasons had a long track record of simply awesome music. How could they possibly go wrong? Well they did.
Shakedown 3 is quite simply, a three disc set of utter piffle. 46 tracks of bland, anodyne, uninspiring tracks which in the days of vinyl would not have been good enough to make the ‘B’ side.
Now that’s not strictly true. ‘Believer 2014’, ‘Million Dollar Bill’ and ‘Uninvited 2014’ are lazy and inferior re-works of Freemasons originals and ‘Bring it Back’ had already been available for some time, I purchased it from Amazon some time ago. That just makes a bad situation much worse.
So what’s wrong with the songs on the albums? Well, they are very, very weak.
The performances by Amanda Wilson, Katherine Ellis et al are as one would expect, outstanding, but the songs are weak. And the production has vastly changed. No longer do we have the pulse-racing must-dance mix of, for example Summer ‘11 (see above), we have a mix which allows you to drift off and think about painting the fence.
Trust me, when you’re in a club and the music has been kind of yawny for an hour or so, when a Freemasons track hits the speakers it’s like an A-bomb has gone off. You simply have to dance, their music was SO different and simply damn good. Now I wouldn’t be able to tell their new stuff from the aural wallpaper that clubs play these days.
So where did it go wrong?
Well, looking back over their catalogue the rot set in a few years ago.
The first notable dud was “Wonderful Life” by Hurts, an indifferent version of a mediocre song. But then we had “Good Girl” by Alexis Jordan and the stunning “Finish Line” and “Light Up The World” by Yasmin. Yay, Hurts was just an anomaly.
Oh no it wasn’t. “Mama Do The Hump” (WTF?), “Cheating”, “The World Goes Quiet”, “Nightcall” and “Gorecki”. Weak, weak songs at best – utter shite at worst. The rot had well and truly set in. Without a half decent song, or the willingness to combine several good songs The Freemasons were doomed to the ‘Difficult Third Album’ syndrome which has affected such luminaries as Garbage and The Cardigans before them.
Well, why am I so tetchy about all of this?
Until I discovered The Freemasons I thought House music was something that short guys in little cars blasted out to an unsuspecting public on sunny days. The Brighton Boys opened my eyes and ears to a whole genre of music which was damn good, damn exciting and so danceable. I went on to explore other artists but none were in the same league as The Freemasons.
Now I feel like the girl that’s been dumped by her boyfriend for some cheap slag. I’ve lost something precious and the guy has moved on to something much worse.
I feel lost.