Stuck - Freak Frequency (2023), 5/10

Another impressive release from the Chicago based punk outfit Stuck. Freak Frequency holds on to the post-punk sensibilities introduced on Change Is Bad but amps up the energy and eccentricity which is a welcome change, along with the increased experimentation with noise. Greg’s vocals are gripping and quirky as usual, but still pleasantly raw along with characteristically poignant lyricism. His guitar work is also stellar, with several standout hooks and riffs that elevate the post-punk sound of many of these tracks to greater heights. This record leans on its energetic delivery, and while there are moments lacking ambition, they are sparse enough to keep you engaged to the end. The singles “Freak Frequency”, “Time Out” and “The Punisher” are decently representative of the gambit of sounds present on the album, with the title track being a favorite for me personally. The variation in sonics during a transition from the title track to “Fools Idol” is a creative choice I can get behind and proves consistent enough to keep the listening experience fresh, so much so that the album flies by, even for a 37-minute affair. Another example being the standout tracks “Plank III” and “Break The Arc” that represent opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to tempo, energy and use of noise. Of course Greg Obis proves to be the star of the show, but David Algrim’s bass adds a raw expression to the band’s sound with its unique tone and Tim Green’s drums are driving and vital as with any derivation of punk. Stuck are an impressive group in a live setting and this album thankfully captures that energy and aesthetic in its best moments. While it is nothing revolutionary, it is most certainly worth a listen for any fan of post-punk.