There's a lot to be upset about, and while Absolutely Free are on the level, the Toronto band isn't ready to collapse just yet. Their new song "Currency," the first since their 2014 self-titled debut, is a fresh reintroduction to the group motorik-driven psychedelia, with rave-y synth breakdowns and vocals from Meghan Remy of U.S. Girls. The lyrics are dreamlike, filled with exhaustion and hope: "The myths we cannot change are just versions of right / So, until we have that power, I really want a signal to light."
The title of Absolutely Free's upcoming EP is Geneva Freeport. The project is named for a storage facility in Switzerland where the 1% hoard priceless works of art, tax-free shots of adrenaline for their investment portfolios that the public does not get to see. The existence of such a place raises thorny questions of art's function and meaning in a capitalist society – as Absolutely Free wrote to us over email, they had a lot more on the brain, too.
"'Currency'’s lyrics consider how social frameworks like gender performance are built. As a band, we are learning to acknowledge the privilege and power we personally gain from systems such as patriarchy, and are feeling conflicted about how to best use this social capital. We have noticed a lot of white male reactions to this era of intersectional sensitivity have been to stay out of the conversation completely, but this results in music that tends to just operate as "music", and that’s sort of it. We have never been a band who is interested in just making "music”, but also understand that social currency, built solely on statements of solidarity, become platitudes without meaningful action behind them. It's a difficult thing to navigate."
"We know that any space we take up means another band doesn’t get to inhabit that space. This is one of the reasons we have taken so long to release new music; because we want to make sure we use whatever bandwidth we are given to share something that is deeply considered and worth paying attention to. Also, we've been learning to work more collaboratively, to share the space that we do occupy with others. We were inspired by the Talking Heads album, Remain In Light, when we wrote this record and in this song particularly, we wanted to subvert their reference to the “front-man with female back-up singers” trope. We are so grateful to Meg from U.S. Girls for her contribution and unwavering support for this project, as we are so inspired by her work and ethics."
Thumbnail photo by Colin Medley