Free Association is a new-ish rock band from Tulsa that began in January 2018. The band formed as an outlet for songs Joshua Ricks had written and grew from there with the addition of the rest of the band.
The name “free association” was picked because it emulates the freedom and lack of instruction in their songwriting. Rather than simply playing the song how it was originally imagined by one member, the layout is introduced and each member adds their own spin.
“I like to just play what I have written and let everyone in the group run with the feelings or impression the song left with them,” says Ricks.
“It [is] incredibly beautiful to see everyone in the group interpret the emotional message and feeling of each song and express that back in their own way.”
Free Association started recording their first album in August of last year, which they finished by the end of September. However, fans still had awhile to wait before any of the songs were ready to stream. It wasn’t until last month that the band officially shared their music on streaming sites.
The first song the band released off the album that unveiled today (August 16) was “Old Man” on July 1st. It was followed shortly after by “Circles” on July 26th. According to Ricks, the singles were chosen for their upbeat sound and ABAB format.
The record itself is apparently a collection of songs that don’t have a traditional format and blend between genres. The first description given to me was “retro psychedelic rock vibe” – a spot on description, in my opinion.
The first on the list is “Groovy Blue.” A light song, “Groovy Blue” comes across as positive and upbeat. The beat is steady and repetitive, the lyrics are relaxed and positive; every instinct while listening is to sway and “groove” along.
Next up is the previously released “Old Man.” Though this one continues a similar sound, the vibe is much different. Rather than coming across as relaxed and upbeat, the song sounds like it just came out of an old-time-y mystery film.
“Hurricanes and Floods” is third on the tracklist. Anxiety is at its highest with this song as the music flutters through, lyrics denoting a blue tale. However, the tone shifts about halfway through this almost-six-minute song from nervous to something akin to resignation.
The next six songs follow similar styles and themes. Each song is carefully crafted. By blending styles, the band achieves a dreamy sound – the kind of sound that lulls you into feelings, good and bad. Whether it’s the slower “First Friday” or the foot-tapping “Omniscient,” there’s a song for everyone in this album.
As if the songs themselves don’t span different styles,”Circles,” “Six Long Years,” and “Loving You” all feature a female singer in stark contrast to the other male-fronted songs. It’s a testament to their “free association” that different vocalists take lead in different songs; each member of the band gets to do their take.
Check out Free Association on all social media and music streaming sites and make sure to listen to their debut album below: