Free Association Debuts Their Self-Titled Album

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:

Cavern Company’s “So This Is Happiness” is Emotional and Optimistic

On May 11th, Cavern Company released their latest EP, So This Is Happiness. The EP consists of five songs – three of which were remastered versions of singles released in 2018 – that journey to the heart of happiness.

The first song, “Falling,” does its best to pump up the listener. The opening of the song swims in optimism, dance elements beginning early. The point is to get the listener ready for the rest of the EP; “Falling” is a preview for the following songs. The repeated, “We’re not ready, but we’ve already started,” puts them ahead of the usual climb, showing them skipping past the usual acclimation period of an album and jumping straight into the good part.

The song discusses not being ready to fall in love but also not really being given a choice. Instead of fighting it, however, the person dives in with the mentality of “it’s already happening, so there’s not stopping it.”

The next track continues with that positivity. “Enough?” can be completely explained by one line found in the third verse: “I keep on breathing for now, I keep on breathing for now.” The song describes breaking free by living one day at a time.

“God Willing” follows the two dance-heavy songs with a more crooning ballad. While it isn’t necessarily a slow song, it does introduce a heavier theme. “God Willing” is absolute emotion; it’s an apology for not treating a past love as well as they should have. However, keeping in theme with happiness and positivity, the song becomes a reflection that ultimately leads to moving on.

Instead of jumping back into the quick paced, dance-y songs that the EP opened with, “Rising Tide” is placed strategically to ease the listener out of the reverie “God Willing” placed them in. It goes straight into the final song, “Body Language.”

After all of the optimism in the other songs, the promotion of staying positive, “Body Language” brings the listener back down to Earth. The song is a call for honesty. “Now you’re doing fine; body language tells me otherwise,” shows them calling out the other songs for claiming this new happy life when there are other darker tones to them. The chorus consists of the singer promising not to let them hide behind false positivity.

So This Is Happiness is an EP that shows a progression towards happiness. It encourages optimism while assuring that it is okay not to be happy yet. Combining pop-infused rock with dance elements and clear vocals, Cavern Company provides a perfect melody that speaks just as loud as the lyrics.

Check out Cavern Company on all social media and music streaming sites. Be sure to listen to So This Is Happiness.