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Articles Home » 1991 Articles » BLOC - 1991 In The Freezone
BLOC - 1991 In The Freezone

ALBUM: In The Free Zone
SERIAL: 75021 5343 2
YEAR: 1991


LINEUP: Camille Henry - vocals, percussion * Nels Cline - guitars, vocals * Nicholas Kirgo - guitars, vocals * Stuart Liebig - bass, vocals * Christopher Mancinelli - drums, percussion, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Speak * 02 Follow * 03 Take It Up * 04 Hard To Say (What Went Wrong) * 05 I Can't Stand The Rain * 06 No Shadow * 07 You Could Run Away * 08 Not A Secret Dance * 09 Free Zone * 10 Ghosts * 11 Dying Fires

A stylish affair from this Californian outfit BLOC. They venture into a funky if at times hi-tech sound, which infuses so many influences from the eighties. A few from that era come along for the nostalgic ride: like Prince, Rick Springfield, Darling Cruel, B52's plus many others that skip my memory. Oh dear.. Upon first listen, the vocals of Camille drift in the same direction as Andrea Corr. If you can visualise this in a rock context (mind you The Corrs know how to rock it up too!), then you are a mind reader. She does bring in other styles too, especially when BLOC rock up a bit. The stylish aspect comes in the shape of Nels Cline's guitarwork, which is technical, interesting, and interweaves different styles throughout. Someone like Australian guitar god Tommy Emmanuel for instance. Tony Peluso, who's been around the track with a few AOR bands does the production duties.

The Songs
'In The Free Zone' is a varied mix, and I'm not sure what they were trying to achieve with it as it does chop and change. They start off well enough with the excellent anthemic rock of 'Speak'. Second up 'Follow' is pretty cool too. Funky and rocky at the same time. Prince gets a musical mention on 'Take It Up', the inspiration all to obvious. 'Hard To Say (What Went Wrong)' sort of drifts without anything to grasp onto, while the undertaking of 'I Can't Stand The Rain', a cover of the disco hit by the troupe Eruption was not an inspired move I'm afraid. Very insipid. 'No Shadow' has a fusion flavour to it, while the Rick Springfield like 'Not A Secret Dance' is offputting due to the strange timing of the backbeat. Some would call it syncopated, I'd call it annoying, or too clever from the drummer! Fro once Nels gets to rock out big time on 'Ghosts'. Check out the killer solo through the middle, like Alex Lifeson joining Eric Johnson for a jam in a dance club. The closer is the six minute epic 'Dying Fires', more for the fact that it nearly sent me to sleep with it's meandering dreamy style.

In Summary
According to Nels as sourced from his website, the band were dropped by A&M four weeks after this was released, even though they'd been together for seven years. The impression I get is that he personally didn't feel comfortable playing this style. He has many other credits playing on different records, which appear to be in other styles. Oh well.. win some, lose some. In any case, the majority of you who come to this site regularly, may find this lot too tame, and perhaps too varied..

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#1 | reyno-roxx on July 30 2008 15:49:26
I thought this was a really good record. Set up an interview with them for 'Kerrang!' I can't remember if it was ever published.
#2 | rostoned on July 30 2008 18:12:13
Even here in Italy this oddity was highly recommended at the time of release by our own writing (melodic) rock guru Beppe Riva (the italian Derek Oliver I'd say) on the pages of Metal Shock bi-weekly, in the 'AOR heaven' column.
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