Punk rock wasn’t always necessarily about loud power chords and screaming dudes with Mohawks. Once upon a time, artists like the Clash and Elvis Costello played tuneful pop-rock that was nevertheless impacting in its own way, defying expectations and smashing boundaries. Detroit’s Freer seeks to follow in their footsteps.

Jessica Boullion
This Thursday, Freer wil be, as one member put it, “freaking the fuck out” at the Blind Pig. (Courtesy of Freer)

Formed by brothers Jeremy and Jeffrey Freer, Freer takes a cue straight from the early punk-rock greats. Their music is raw and often holds a bit of righteous rage. In “I Think You Know,” from Freer’s debut Secret Chorus, Jeremy rants, “We are the ones against the media terror / Pop-culture propaganda that’s been shoved in our face.” That anti-posturing attitude suits the band perfectly. The honesty and emotion at the forefront of their music is undeniable and authentic.

Of course, like their well-known predecessors, Freer doesn’t draw the line at being earnest and real. Their music is, for all its rawness, extremely well-crafted with an undeniable pop sensibility that will appeal to fans of the Shins and a playful sense of experimentation. Jeremy’s practiced keyboard skills tie the band’s sound to decades of the best pop. “Ordinary Beauty,” another track from the debut, features sweeping synth flourishes while drummer Nick Adams delivers choppy beats reminiscent of the Flaming Lips. Later in the same song, Jeffrey Freer’s melodic bass and Mike Latcha’s plodding guitar arpeggios combine with dreamy multi-part harmonies to invoke a uniquely beautiful transcendence.

Live, Freer has a habit of – to use Jeremy Freer’s own words – “freaking the fuck out.” On at least one occasion, they have taken cues from the Who and smashed equipment on stage, and Jeffrey has a tendency to launch himself into the crowd. Their shows are powerful and exciting, and their tireless touring has led to more exposure and wider acclaim. This is the kind of band any fan of local music loves to see – an original group talented enough to mix the best of the old with their original sound that belongs in the same league as any of today’s best indie acts.

With their originality and bold honesty, Freer does their predecessors proud, and proves themselves to be more than just this year’s replica of the old greats.

Freer
Thursday
at 9:30 p.m.
$6, 18+ $9
At the Blind Pig

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