The Free Design The Now Sound: Redesigned

[Light In The Attic; 2005]

Styles: psychedelic pop, sunshine-pop, baroque folk
Others: Peter, Paul, and Mary never did a remix record

There are bands in music history that never catch their big break. It's proof positive that talent and repertoire aren't always promises of fame and success. Bands get overlooked, demos get lost in the mail and never reach the bigwig's desk, kids can't find the funds for a tour van, or an unaccustomed sound eludes appreciation from a lagging audience. You can say the Free Design, a family psych-folk group that started to make noise nearly 40 years ago, fell into this lowly oblivion. The group never really broke through -- quite surprising, especially when you listen to their music today. You would think an audience would respond to their cutesy tales of childlike innocence and baroque arrangements and instrumentation, but no -- nothing much happened. <cue the horn section, let it swoop in suddenly> Until now.

Light In The Attic records did the Free Design a tremendous favor -- they rediscovered them. It's not only a kind gesture to resurrect the brothers and sisters Dedrick, but to set them up with some of the most noteworthy names in independent music was even more congenial.

The remakes of the Free Design's songs embody a wide range of styles -- some numbers have become funkdafied, others have expounded on the psych-pop approach, while others have thrown the hardest of drums into the mix, rendering the delicate, sunshiny, group unrecognizable. The remakes and revamps work out for the best when the production compliments, rather than contends, with the original composition. The finest examples of this can be found on "I Found Love," Super Furry Animals' "The Proper Ornaments," and Kid Koala's "An Elegy."

Guest vocals hinder the album, drawing the attention away from the Free Design's cuddly and compassionate melodies. Murs' appearance on Dangermouse's album selection seems out of place. Rather than embracing the Free Design for what they were, Murs made a song that would be better fit on his next album. Regardless, the flaws are few overall.

The Dedrick family should be both proud and grateful. They've finally made it. Time to par-tay! Bring out the cardboard kazoos and cocaine! The Dedricks must be about 60-something now. Prime time for reckless celebration and rock'n'roll excess.

1. Redesigned
2. Where Do I Go - Madlib
3. Umbrellas - Peanut Butter Wolf
4. Radio Break (interlude)
5. Harve Daley Hix - Stereolab & The High Llamas
6. Don't Turn Away - Sharpshooters
7. Crossover (interlude)
8. 2002 - A Hit Song - Chris Geddies of Belle & Sebastian and Hush Puppy
9. I Found Love - Styrofoam & Sarah Shannon
10. Funk Design (interlude)
11. Don't Cry Baby - Koushik & Dudley Perkins
12. Blowin' Bubbles (interlude)
13. Kites Are Fun - Mellow
14. Girls Alone (Nobody Muzak Mix) Nobody feat. Ikey Owens of Mars Volta
15. To A Black Boy - Dangermouse & Murs
16. The Proper Ornaments - Super Furry Animals
17. An Elegy - Kid Koala & Dynomite D

18. Light My Fire (interlude)
19. Dorian Benediction - Caribou

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