OK class, show of hands: who's been jamming the new Refused record Freedom over the past week or so? And what does everybody think? Are you one of those people who's a bit butt-hurt because Freedom isn't exactly what they expected and/or hoped for? Or are you, like me, pleasantly surprised with this grower-not-a-shower of an album?
Fans expecting The Shape of Punk to Come 2.0 might be disappointed that the rest of Freedom doesn't hit as hard as "Elektra", but as usual, the open-minded listener is rewarded here with something interesting and different. Refused have come a ways in the last fifteen or twenty years, but if you don't go into Freedom with a particular set of expectations all built up and ready to be disappointed, I think you'll find that there's a lot of good stuff to be had.
Case in point: "Dawkins Christ", which oscillates between simmering menace and bursting punk energy. Like many of the tracks on Freedom, it's not especially heavy, or fast, or technical, but it is just enough of all of those things to hook a listener like me. Maybe it'll hook a listener like you, maybe not, but if you're at all into Refused, it deserves at least a look. The shape of punk that's come might not be what you thought it would be, but that doesn't mean it isn't cool.