Music Review

Freezepop shows off its worldly allures

Liz Enthusiasm and Freezepop had a two-night release party at Great Scott. Liz Enthusiasm and Freezepop had a two-night release party at Great Scott. (Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe)
By Luke O’Neil
Globe Correspondent / January 3, 2011

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It may sound strange to call a Boston band that’s been in operation for more than 10 years one of the scene’s best-kept secrets, and yet one can’t help but think after watching the synth-pop four-member Freezepop at Great Scott that they are not getting their full due. It’s even stranger when you consider that their music has gotten broad international exposure in some 10 popular video games such as the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series, and that their last album sold in the realm of 100,000 singles. Perhaps it’s just another case of a band being more highly appreciated outside its own scene.

There was no lack of love in the air in the sold-out crowd on Saturday night, the second of Freezepop’s two-night record-release party. Translating the type of computer-world synth pop the band has perfected over its four full-lengths and multiple EP releases (the latest, “Imaginary Friends,’’ has just arrived) has always been difficult. Plenty of like-minded robot Pinocchios forget the breathing part of the equation when unspooling their miles of laptop and keyboard wires onstage. Not so Freezepop, whose members traded off instruments, keytars, drum kit synth pads, guitar, and keyboards in a dizzying, high-energy set of tracks from throughout the quartet’s career. The dance moves onstage didn’t hurt either.

New songs, such as the wryly sung “Lost That Boy’’ and the darkly wrought (relatively speaking) title track with its ascending and descending harmonized key figures, washed over the dancing crowd bathed in multicolored strobes. Many in the audience were singing along to the new material word for word. On “Lady Spider’’ singer Liz Enthusiasm wrapped her microphone cord around multi-instrumentalist Sean Drinkwater like the titular arachnid.

Older favorites such as the shouty, arch “Bike Thief’’ and “Brain Power’’ were exuberantly delivered. Toward the end of the set, Kasson Crooker, a now-departed founding member of the band, rejoined his mates onstage. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many keytars in one place,’’ a dancing fan was overheard to say. Crooker brought a new-wave punk attitude to the stage for “Shark Attack’’ and the rocking “Less Talk More Rokk,’’ in which Drinkwater and drummer Robert Foster affected a heavy metal band complete with guitar slaying and anthemic drum rolls. It made it easy to forget that even if the instruments aren’t real, the creativity and the heart of the band are.

Boston’s the New Collisions channeled a parallel but distinctively different 1980s era with their Elvis Costello and the Attractions by way of No Doubt power pop. Bouncy bass lines and rich organ churning in smartly written songs and a sharply played set left room for singer Sarah Guild to charm the crowd with her alternately romantic crooning and brash shouts.

Luke O’Neil can be reached at

FREEZEPOP With the New Collisions

At: Great Scott, Saturday