Album Review: Free Pizza – Berlin, DE

Published On June 27, 2016 | By Haydon Benfield | Albums, Music

The distinction between an EP and a full-length album is one that is often difficult to draw clearly.  Is the deciding factor runtime?  Is it the number of songs?  Is it how it’s all packaged?  And that’s before you throw mini-albums into the mix.  Free Pizza don’t even attempt to answer that question, rather they shatter and wreck the expectations and take pleasure in the confusion that is left.  With their second album, Berlin, DE, the trio of Jesus Vio, Santiago Cardenas, and Rory MacMurdo deliver 7 songs, of which the longest – Fortune And Faith­­ – lasts 2 minutes neat.

Free Pizza - Berlin, DEThe album’s extreme brevity is in no way a disappointment; in fact many acts could learn a thing or two from the tight, jovial, song-writing displayed on Berlin, DE which charms from the start with the immensely danceable, Dancing, which embodies the songs refrain “dancing is the cure to the mediocre”.    Free Pizza’s debut, Boston, MA, featured a strong vein of cow-punk which is absent – in all but spirit – on their follow-up, and while the guitars are still spanky the twang is replaced by a shine and jangle, as on Fortune And Faith.

Given that founding members Vio and Cardenas are South-American born and Miami raised, and that Free Pizza was formed in Boston, it probably isn’t surprising that place – both in the sense of geographic location, and one’s circumstances – is integral in informing the group’s music.  Berlin, DE was written following the band’s stay in said German city and lyrically it is concerned with the extraordinarily mundane.  That Patience’s one-minute-forty contemplation of waiting for water to boil – so dinner can be prepared – is captivating is testament to the maturity that the song is itself seeking to explore.

The Fall explores similar ground – slightly less successfully, and from the opposite side of the everyday frustration with time – through the language of the seasons.  Album closer Slipping is fixated on the embarrassment of slipping over in public while site-seeing because you’ve worn out the grip on the soles of your shoes.  Throughout Berlin, DE, Free Pizza display the ability to craft a tight song, and their music sounds like the bastard blend of first-wave punk, indie, lo-fi, and pop, and it just works.  Free Pizza are now based in Nashville, Tennessee, which seems just as (un)likely a place as any find the group, and if Berlin, DE, is anything to go by the music this new locale inspires will be pleasantly surprising.

4 / 5 stars     

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