"Free" is a powerful word, and one that must be wholeheartedly respected if with which an artist chooses to crown his/her creation. It has generally rejoicing preconceptions, but the melody we are drawn into feels rather cold and spacious, partly to do with the bassline working on a different minor-key scale. Bass and chord relationship is important if there is a specific atmosphere you want to create, the spaciousness would have been lost if the bassline simply hugged the root chord progression, so there is some intelligent and conscious songwriting happening here. The verse's guitars wander through an emotional melody and then suddenly change mood for the more optimistic chorus, spurred on by a more regulated cadence. The solo is a very welcome touch, and for a few seconds, gives the track a more traditional classic rock aura.
Vocally there are no real low points; the vocalist has achieved that subtlety that is rather tricky at balancing for many artists; The vocal intonation is well defined and does not try to elaborate beyond its needs. In an atmospheric track like this, vocals blend more appropriately when they glide through the melody rather than jitter around it manically (80's hair metal anyone?).
"Free" is sounding great from where I'm sitting, I think it has enough originality, yet at the same time, familiarity to reach many many people agreeably. I'm sick of people talking over drumbeats, let's get more of this on the airwaves. Cuff has captured the notion of freedom almost with a cocked head and it occasionally reminds me of the loneliness and emptiness one can feel in a free world. Deliciously haunting songwriting and smooth performance from Mr Cuff!
The track starts out with two pretty and well-played guitar lines as an intro, and then the driving bass and drums kick in and propel it to another level. This is the type of song that really makes one feel as though they have been transported to their own little world.
While the entire song is very good, there is one special moment present. Taking nothing away from the singing, when the vocals drop out and are replaced by another squealing guitar line at just past the four minute mark, the song sounds truly incredible.
The only minor fault in this song is that it seems a tad repetitive. At just over five minutes in length, one would think that a bit more variation would be found in this prog-rock type of song than is present. The verses and choruses sound quite similar, and it is actually somewhat difficult to tell when one begins and the other ends at times. Still, if the only fault is that it repeats a beautiful melody, than one could certainly find worse.
Nigel Cuff seems to be a very accomplished musician. He clearly has a solid understanding of the intricacies of numerous instruments as well as good recording techniques. This is a song and artist well worth taking note of.