Saturday, November 30, 2013

Freur - Doot-Doot

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Doot-Doot, the debut album from Freur who hailed from Cardiff, Wales. The group was made up of Carl Hyde (vocals and guitar), Bryn Burrows (drums), Rick Smith (keyboards and guitar), Alfie Thomas (guitar) and John Warwicker (synthesizers).

Side one opens with the title track. "Doot-Doot", as the first single, charted at number 59 in the UK and number 24 in Germany. It opens with a slow blend of synth and guitars that just washes over you. Hyde's vocals on the verses are hypnotic, punctuated by the minimalist chorus of the song title.

The B-side to the first single was "Runaway". The gentle saxophone solo (by Andy Sheppard) is followed by a lightly accompanied vocal; the whole story about slowly succumbing to feelings of love builds to a dramatic ending.

"Riders in the Night", the third single, moves from a movie score like opening into a more urgent mid-tempo beat. This one definitely brings to mind the other early 80's British synth-pop dance bands.

Pino Pallandino is a guest on "Theme from the Film of the Same Name", playing the fretless bass. The whole piece has a dark, moody texture to it.

"Tender Surrender" closes out the first half of the record.

Side two starts with "Matters of the Heart"; it also happened to be released as the second single. The layering technique on the vocals for this one is pretty cool; along with the music it creates an intriguing listening experience.

"My Room" features an interesting blend of synths and guitar as well. This one has a creepy, stalker vibe to it as a guy invites a lady back to his place.

"Whispering" is a slower, softer number that really forces you to listen closely. It makes for a very intimate experience.

"Steam Machine" is another dark and quirky number. The synths give life to a hissing contraption.

The album ends with "All Too Much", a song about reaching a breaking point in life. I like the way they use various audio, sped up and slowed down, to further illustrate the total breakdown.

I don't know why but back in the early 80's I thought Freur was a German band; maybe it was due to them being so popular in Germany. I was familiar with the title track, but the rest of Doot-Doot had not completely fallen into my radar. A few years ago, I was listening to Chris Cordani's Revenge of the 80s podcast and heard another track by the band. That motivated me to see them out again after almost three decades. The singles and "Runaway" soon found a home in my music library.

1 comment:

HERC said...

This one probably flew under a lot of people's radar and that's a shame because there's a lot worth hearing on this album. The band's name was initially a squiggly symbol that they came to pronounce as Freur. The symbol can be found on the album artwork as well as on the labels of their singles.

The CD in my collection is the 2000 reissue with two bonus tracks: the 12" of "Doot Doot" and it's non- album b-side "Hold Me Mother", also in an 12" mix. The latter track is a headphone favorite.

You might not know that Hyde and Smith went on to form the band Underworld later in the Eighties, whose biggest hit was "Born Slippy NUXX" in 1996. Underworld was also involved with last year's London Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Hyde also released a solo album, Edgeland, earlier this year.