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I Am Not a Freemdoom

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Album Review

Half concept album, half comic book, the Masters of the Hemisphere's I Am Not a Freemdoom uses the group's gently catchy songwriting skills to tell the tale of Krone Ishta, a far-off island populated by mild-mannered folk like the Frog King, Mal the Fish, and Ed, a reservoir dweller. The island is terrorized by Freemdoom, an evil dog bent on polluting and seizing the island, and his monster sidekick Gorgar. Musically, the album blends the folky, fairy-tale quality of Peter, Paul & Mary's "Puff the Magic Dragon" and the sugar-high energy of the theme songs to '60s and '70s kids' shows; acoustic guitars, organs, sweet harmonies, and "ba-ba-ba"s abound. Sweet, sunny pop songs like "The New Commotion," "Gorgar's Room," and "The New Freemdoom" sound like they're straight from lost episodes of The Archies or The Hair Bear Bunch, while folky ballads like "Summer in Krone Ishta" and "So What About Freemdoom" add to the album's storytime feel. Indeed, I Am Not a Freemdoom includes song descriptions and a mini comic book to hit home the album's plot; it's this attention to detail that proves the album is a labor of love and not just an in-joke. Even so, for those not in the mood, I Am Not a Freemdoom can seem too precious and insular for its own good. But with the right attitude, the album's seriously playful approach is irresistible.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Athens, Georgia-based indie pop combo Masters of the Hemisphere were founded in 1996 by singers/songwriters Sean Rawls and Bren Mead, longtime friends who by high school were already veterans of a series of bands including Jasper's Arm, Vetran, Volcano Clutch, Eat Rice on Friday, and Linus, many of them documented on cassettes released via the teen duo's Everybody's Wearing Them label. When Mead's family relocated to New Mexico, he and Rawls continued writing and recording independently, planning...
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I Am Not a Freemdoom, Masters of the Hemisphere
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