We take a look at Fred Again's latest album Actual Life 3 in our latest track-by-track review.
Date published: 28th Oct 2022
Fred Again has has a quick rise recently after the success of his Actual Life album series. He has also produced and released tracks with a range of incredible artists from Headie One to Jamie XX and Ed Sheeran. His Boiler Room set this year went viral and has seen him amass a huge following.
Now he has released the third chapter of his Actual Life series, Actual Life 3 and we thought we'd get stuck into it on a track-by-track basis.
January 1st 2022
Okay, this is actually only a ten-second snippet as an intro that features a short voice recording so moving swiftly on...
We hear a vocal melody being ripped apart and split off into shattered individual pieces, being scattered amongst a whole range of sounds. A meditative beat comes in and takes over, with a horn sound effect infrequently appearing which we're pretty sure is from a meme. Those vocals from the beginning are thrown back in every now and then.
Delilah (pull me out of this)
A lot of Fred Again..'s work is based around voice recordings and recordings of the everyday which he twists into his songs. using his friend Delilah Montagu on this track, he creates a feeling of pure House euphoria. The first snippet we heard of this album still hits just as hard.
With plenty of left turns being taken once you think the groove is settled, there's a whole range of feelings here from quiet reflection to all-out feet-shaking catharsis.
Kammy (like I do)
The hardest-hitting beat of the album greets us on this track. the vocals that have been grabbed for this track are perfectly fine but not the most expressive thing you've ever heard. It's only Fred's production that gives this track real life and purpose.
Berwyn (all that i got is you)
There's a lot more going for the vocals here as the voice dominates a piano melody and some deep percussion. There is a pretty anonymous instrumental section in the middle that feels quite mundane to the point that you almost forget that you're listening, a contrast to Delilah.
Bleu (better with time)
It all feels a bit flat at the start of this track, the vocals are slightly grating and the track feels like an engine failing to ignite. A bit of percussion gives it much-needed rhythm and it is helped when the pitch is turned way up all of a sudden, able to hit much harder than before.
Nathan (still breathing)
A song that reaches out to others for a sense of connection, reminding someone that crucially, they aren't alone. There's a toned-down hit of bass dominating the background. This is more meditative house music, you'll find little epiphanies in it. Only when the tempo climbs does the song gain a bit more life.
Danielle (smile on my face)
Something about the beat instantly makes you want to get up and run about. The percussion feels absolutely perfect here and it makes the track's pacing able to hold you completely within its grasp. The static textures that fade in and out give Danielle a real sense of energy.
Kelly (end of a nightmare)
We're positioned towards the end of a nightmare and the environment around us feels hollowed out and sparse. The vocal effects becoming more unhinged do genuinely make you feel trapped in some strange realm. There's end of the song is one of the most intense moments of the album so far, as a mixture of contorted sounds come hurtling towards you.
Mustafa (time to move you)
The advantage of using recordings is that it feels as though the people are right in the room with you. The main vocal melody isn't as impressive as the recording. There's a slight sense of intrigue felt in the backing that almost feels like a flashing star in a night sky.
Clara (the night is dark)
The vocals that open the song feel huge and full of soul. It feels as if every other element of the track wakes up around it, stirred into action. This is probably the first truly euphoric song since Delilah on the album. Here, Fred Again captures a perfect vocal that feels instantly stirring.
Using it as a point to jump off, each part of the backing track feels divinely inspired.
Winnie (end of me)
The chosen voice on this song feels flat. The song ambles about in the soundscape it creates and doesn't quite kick off. It's a bit of a breather after the last track but never really feels like it has much of a personality.
September 9th 2022
Finishing as it starts, a short snippet tells us, "if you don't know, don't worry".
In summary, the third edition of Fred Again's Actual Life series is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, Delilah and Clara are delightfully euphoric moments that make the best of his scrapbook approach to songwriting. Yet there are a lot of moments that are just...fine. Vocal melodies don't stand out or some songs feel too mundane, that they should have gone up a gear. The album is more of a background vibe rather than taking your hand to the dance floor.
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