Freeloader

Custom/10

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The Freeloader lineup that one hears on Custom/10, which was recorded in 2000, no longer exists. Lead singer/guitarist Scott Sinclair, who founded the trio, is still on board, but bassist/keyboardist Matt Dublin and drummer Ezra Oklan have since left the trio. However, the departure of Dublin and Oklan was hardly a fatal blow for Freeloader. Custom/10 is about Sinclair's musical vision -- founder Sinclair is the brains behind Freeloader, and he is the person who wrote all of the songs on this promising debut album. No one will accuse Custom/10 of reinventing the wheel; Sinclair favors a derivative approach to roots rock that underscores his appreciation of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Band, and other baby boomer icons. If you didn't know for a fact that Custom/10 was recorded in 2000, one might assume that many of the songs were recorded in the late '60s or the '70s. Freeloader is unapologetically retro, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sinclair's songs are far from innovative, but that doesn't mean that they aren't enjoyable -- and he brings decent roots rock/rock & roll instincts to gritty originals like "Ghost Town" and "Lemonade." Sinclair has jokingly described Freeloader's music as "Tabasco sauce rock," and that isn't a bad description because this album does, in fact, have a very Southern, down-home quality (even though many of Freeloader's influences are not from either Texas or the Deep South). Listening to Custom/10, one gets the impression that Freeloader's best work is yet to come -- the trio sounds like it still has a bit of growing and developing to do. Nonetheless, Custom/10 is a respectable, if imperfect, start for the New York-based roots rockers.

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