Christopher Walken once immortally cried out for "more cowbell!" in a Blue Oyster Cult-themed Saturday Night Live skit, and Free Energy--aka Philadelphia's modern-day, indie-rock answer to the Sweathogs--have heeded the call on Stuck On Nothing, a bitchen, cowbell-laden slab of unabashedly Rick Springfieldian powerpop. The album, quite charmingly if not conveniently, is available on cassette, and features rainbow-bedecked cover art that '70s kidz certainly would've recreated in scented Papermate ink on the denim covers of their Trapper Keepers back in the day.
It's actually difficult to discern if Free Energy are being ironically retro on peppily Thin Lizzyish, AM-radio tunes like "Dream City," "Bad Stuff," "Young Hearts," "Bang Pop," and "C'mon Let's Dance"; but it sure is easy to imagine this gang of Chachi-wannabe longhairs finishing recording Stuck On Nothing in some all-analog, pinball-machine-equipped, That '70s Show-esque basement studio, then hopping into their metal-flaked, pleather-seated Camaro and heading to the set of The Outsiders to shoot a muscle-teed cameo in that cult flick's final gangfight scene. Yup, it's got that sort of vibe.
But whether Free Energy are dead serious or tongue-cheeked in their pursuit of retro-riffic fast times, the end result, Stuck On Nothing, is a fun find that'll sound totally rad blasting out of various car speakers this summer--whether those speakers belong to a Camaro convertible or, say, a Prius.
Welcome to the summer of '79, all over again...