We Plug To You... Freedom or Death - EGO


Freedom or Death - made up of duo Steve Fernandez and Sway Clarke - is an alternative rock band out of Toronto, Canada. Sway, the singer/songwriter and Fernandez, the pianist/DJ both met while working at a record label a few years ago and burst unto our radar when they released their critically acclaimed self-titled debut EP last year. Fast-forward about ten months on and the duo return with the follow-up project to and what they call a progression from Freedom or Death - an 8-track sophomore EP titled Ego which was recently released on April 26. The EP is self-released on their own label Liars & Thieves with distribution via the good folks at Arts & Crafts and every track on Ego is written, produced and mixed by the duo who assumed full creative control on the EP over the 5 months it was recorded. 

On why the record is called Ego, the bands response is Cause we all have one and have to deal with our and other people's egos every day”. A couple more quick facts about the band; they performed this year at the Canadian Music Week and also played 3 showcases at this year's SXSW (South by South West) music showcase which has previously birthed the careers of other notable artists such as John Mayer and James Blunt. Even bigger achievements - songs off of the EP are scheduled to run in ABC’s series Rookie Blue this Summer. Now unto the music…

'Inside' which in theory is the first song of the EP draws you in immediately, starting off with an electronic guitar riff. On the verses, you hear a light drum sample while on the chorus an Eighties themed electronic sound is vivid. There’s no doubt that this was carefully constructed to make for a strong opening track. While vibing to the song you almost forget its message is that of one trying to find one's way home to where they belong. I must say it is quite a catchy track that you may find yourself singing along to even on the first listen. For almost a minute on the track (from the 2:40 minute mark), a combination of instrumentals - from drum kicks to lush electronic guitar riffs - are merged together to further showcase the great musical production coming out of this track while the song ends with the band holding a falsetto note that was apparent throughout the track. Listen below: 

"Inside":
The next song I plug to you is coincidentally also the second track on the EP and arguably one of the best. On 'The Crowded Room', very noticeable are the synthesizers that start off the track accompanied by strong captivating leading vocals from the duo. The build-up of instrumentals on this track is nothing short of genius posing a sound that comes similar to what some have termed "earth music". Accompanying the synthesizers are little shakers and a hint of cymbal sounds, followed by a strong drum kick loop sample that backs the harmonious vocals of the group at around the second minute mark. There is also a hidden bonus acoustic version of this song at the end of the album and I urge you to listen to it as well.

"This Crowded Room":
The third song I'm sharing with you was chosen at random (Yes, the EP is that good). The track titled 'Virginia Woolf' starts off with delicate shakers mixed with guitar strings backing the band's lead vocals. Just as before, it slowly builds up to include a drum, bass and eventually claps to make up the instrumental part of the song. This track's orchestrated sound has one of the most enjoyable instrumentals of the album for me. The track also includes dialogue excerpts from the 1966 movie "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf". Harmonizing, a strong asset of the band is very apparent and very well executed on this track as well.

"Virginia Woolf":
Freedom or Death remind me a lot of the other stand-out alternative bands within the same or similar genre such as OneRepublic and The Fray but this is far from us offering up some easy comparisons because Freedom or Death are certainly different from these bands. I can confidently say Freedom or Death's music can and should very well be ranked and judged along with the veterans and chart-toppers on the scene. The production quality on the Ego EP is flawless while the vocal delivery and musical cohesiveness is one for the books. After listening to Ego, I’m definitely downloading their previous EP as well just because I can’t get enough of their music. Download the EP and listen for yourself and just incase you’re in the Toronto area, do not forget to catch the duo on tour all through the Summer (check their website below for tour dates).
Purchase Freedom or Death - Ego EP (Amazon) // Ego EP (iTunes)
Keep Tabs on Freedom or Death - Website // Twitter // Facebook
TemiY

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