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...and in the other corner
Artist: Free Sample
Label: Worthless Records
Time: 32:57  12 Tracks

This album by a youthful punk group bring to mind many, many punk/youth group pizza parties. And that's because Free Sample captures everything that is youthful about Christian pop-punk. You can almost picture these guys playing in the gym, with the youth in the pit in front of the stage.  You can almost smell the air that is mixed with pizza, sweat, and patchouli oil. Oh yes, those were the days.

The theme to this album is all about the battle we fight. The "Warner Bros." type villain cartoon character is standing on the cover of the album grimacing towards you, almost daring you to step in the ring to take him on. The inside sleeve shows pictures of the band with black eyes, boxing gloves, and smiles all around, showing wear and tear from a scrap. But title of the album itself reminds you that we aren't the ones that have to fight. "...and in the other corner." reminds us that the battle isn't ours to begin with,  and we aren't even in the corner, He is. And that's a great message they send out.

But aside from the message, Free Sample has much more left to do musically. Poor recording, muddled vocals, and sketchy guitars never quite send them over the ramp. Their melodies are catchy, and their hooks bounce, but they don't quite melt together. It's not that way throughout the entire album, at times they shine, but in the faster parts of the songs, they seem to be playing as individuals and not as a band and it doesn't work out. But within the album you can hear a future in pop-punk. They have the
break downs of The Get Up Kids, and the melody of Slick Shoes. Now  they need to wait around and practice their skills as musicians. If they can, I have a feeling they will be one to reckon with when the bell tolls for the next bout.

Justin W. Jones 7/24/2000



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