Absolutely Free - 'Aftertouch'

7/10

After forming in the aftermath of their previous outfit DD/MM/YYYY in 2011, Canadian psych-pop trio Absolutely Free have never been ones to do things by the book. After the release of their Polaris Music Prize nominated debut full-length in 2014, the band began to pursue a variety of different aesthetics and ideas, including numerous EP collections and a motion picture soundtrack for Two Cares Due None. But after seven years of sporadic output, they finally return with their second studio album 'Aftertouch', a record that sees them continue their odyssey into the more vibrant world of psychedelic-infused pop music.

Throughout this new collection, we get to hear a revive and progressive band at the helm. While Absolutely Free have always had this forward-thinking edge to their sound, there is something truly remarkable about the textures they have built around this new effort. Not looking to fall into the trap of making a record filled with anthemic hooks that come and go as they please, 'Aftertouch' is more about building a long and sustainable atmosphere. Something that could be marked as a calling card of this release, which delivers a stream of consciousness that rarely falters throughout.

It may have been seven years since their last studio offering, but 'Aftertouch' feels like they have barely been gone at all. This new work picks up almost exactly where their previous releases left off, and sees them embark on a fresh and vibrant journey to the heart of their warm and invigorating sound.

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