The Boston based synth-pop band return with their fifth studio album, first new music in five years and first new LP in 10 years (2010’s Imaginary Friends). An outlet for escapism at a time when we need it most, the 13-track Fantasizer is Freezepop’s most mature and emotionally textured album yet, exploring themes that weave into the duality of our lives: the ones we live in reality, and the ones that carry us through the oft-interrupted daydreams of life.
Backed by a successful Kickstarter campaign and funded by fans, Fantasizer finds Freezepop reflecting the modern day — and being out of step, slightly, with our current reality. Fantasizer is about needing to be somewhere else, whether that's a hedonistic purgatory, or just a new corner of comfort deep inside your own head. It is what happens when you know the 1 world is not meeting you where you had expected, instead preferring to create an altered pseudo reality. It’s the soundtrack to the movie in your head.
The new Freezepop album is led by its yearning lead single, “Anchor to the World Below,” a throwback track with a harmonic callback to early-’80s synth-pop and neon-coated melodies. Its black-and-white visual takes the viewer on a retro-noir journey 100 years back in time, landing at the mythical and magical Sprode Harbour circa 1920. If a colorless video set in the past is not the first thing to come to mind when thinking of the kaleidoscopic, future world Freezepop have created since 2000, that’s by design. Because this is no ordinary Freezepop record. Crafted over the past several years, which included a nearly full re-start in 2016, just as the country began to sink into a nationwide depression, Fantasizer approaches a feverish level of ambitious caution that reflects these often confusing, frustrating times. "We hope it’s an album which acknowledges the darkness around us, but permits hopefulness,” says Sean Drinkwater.
Fantasizer’s 13 tracks cover a remarkable stretch of ground; the sound of a band comfortable in their own synth skin but also obsessed with rewriting their story. The crisp disco strobe of “Heat Lightning Hott”, the yearning synthwave of “Memory Disappears,” the bubble-gum pop bounce of the title track, the near post-punk balladry of “Heart-Rate” -- Fantasizer is a greatest hits compilation disguised as an album, blending genres and styles of electronic music with the skillset of a creative force 20 years in the game. And it arrives just in time, in an age where pop music has experienced an identity crisis, and authenticity has given way to disposability and superficiality.
“We didn’t want to make some cookie-cutter album you could make on a laptop in two weeks -- we certainly avoided doing that!” Drinkwater says with a laugh. But he’s quick to get serious, because at its core, Fantasizer is a serious album: “We wanted to make an antidote to every antiseptic committee-created soulless void that passes for a pop record or a dance record in 2020. We wanted every second of this album to feel like ‘Wow, they’re really going for it. Because we did. We wanted this album to sit comfortably with the best things ever made in our genre, not just with our own catalog.” Fantasizer swirls through an electronic-pop landscape touching down across cinematic themes of futurism, space travel, horror, human tension, cyber apocalypse, and the realities we see outside our windows each and every day. Each song is a portal, each composition a respite. It’s ok to realize we all feel trapped, out of control, and fearful of our temporary nature. But maybe Fantasizer is more than escapism -- it's the bounciest, danciest dysphoria, and you are the star of this show.
To understand the Freezepop present, let’s take a ride through Freezepop’s past:
• Freezepop formed in Boston in the summer of 1999, a time and place where electropop bands were exceedingly rare.
• They released two homemade EPs, built a website, animated a video (these things were BIG deals back then, and it even got them a writeup in Wired for their DIY-meets-techy-goodness aesthetic).
• Their debut album, 2000’s Freezepop Forever, was released domestically on their own label, Archenemy, and licensed in Europe by the Spanish indiepop label Elefant.
• In 2004, they put out sophomore album Fancy Ultra•Fresh.
• In 2008, after eight years of self-releasing their music, Freezepop partnered with Rykodisc/Cordless Recordings for their third album, Future Future Future Perfect, and the single “Less Talk More Rokk” was the iTunes #4 dance/electronic song that year.
• The label experiment was cool, but they decided to return to self-releasing for their next album, Imaginary Friends, which went on to receive Best Album honors in the 2011 Boston Phoenix/WFNX Best Music Poll and Best Electronic Act in the 2011 Boston Music Awards.
• Over the years, Freezepop have been in a ton of video games, including cult favorites Frequency and Amplitude, and the massively popular Guitar Hero series, Rock Band, and Dance Dance Revolution.
• Freezepop tracks have been featured on TV shows ranging all the way from PBS kids’ series Arthur to The L Word.
• Freezepop and their keytars have played a great many shows over the years. They’ve hit 4 continents, and even got to play at NASA once.
sean drinkwater - synthesizers, programming
robert john "bananas" foster - live "drums" and keytar
christmas disco marie sagan - synths, vocoder