June 21, 2020

Eclectic Prog Review: Fren-Where Do You Want Ghosts To Reside?

Release Date: March 6 2020
Label: Independent

Where Do You Want Ghosts To Reside? is the debut album released by the Polish band, Fren. Hailing from Krakow, they are classed as an eclectic prog band and were formed in 2017. The band is a quartet, comprising Oscar Cenkier (keyboards), Michal Chalota (guitars), Andrew Shamanov (bass) and Oleksii Federov (drums).

These guys are creating a few waves for being newcomers, as I have seen a couple of reviews which have extolled the virtues of this band, as well as hinting that they have a few older bands to thank for their sound. Having listened to this release, which was sent to me by Michal, many times, what we have here is an excellent set of musicians who give “nods” to various areas of “older, classic” prog, but masterfully incorporate these retro-style sound excursions into the sound of Fren. At this point, I should also mention that Fren is an instrumental band, and they have successfully circumvented my normal apprehension of such entities, as at no time during Where Do You Want Ghosts To Reside? did I think “what a difference a vocalist could have made at this point.”

Where Do You Wants Ghosts To Reside? is a 6 track album with a total playing time of just under 45 minutes (44:29), with track 3, “Goraca Linia”, being the shortest at 2:59 minutes and the fourth track, “Pleonasm,” the longest on offer at just over 12 minutes (12:02).

“Pleonasm” is a majestic track dominated by the superb piano passages. After a gentle piano passage starts the track, with the rest of the band almost unobtrusive in the background, the piece moves into a more jazzy sequence with all the players playing their parts very well, as the piece unfolds, the tempo, and the intensity shifts several times with the piano leading the way for the most part. The interplay between the four very skilled musicians is nudging perfection. Little forays, again into a more jazz-based style, this time led by guitar, ebb and flow, as the music returns to the piano lead before entering into a majestic full band passage around the midpoint of the track. The listener is drawn into the atmospheric piece by the shifting points of emphasis and the revisiting of the superb piano sections. At times this track is very minimalistic before building into a thunderous full band section, then the sound is stripped away to simply piano with the other instruments underpinning the track. The last 1-2 minutes are hugely atmospheric as the track moves to the finale. This is a stunning track that is different musically from the 3 prior tracks but maintains the high bar set by those tracks.

The final track on the album is track 6, “Time To Take The Stones Away” (8:41), and starts with another majestic repeating riff, before settling into a guitar-led passage which pushes along, giving Michal the chance to shine. A simply lovely piano passage at 2:00 minutes is backed by tempered bass and drums with the piano again the main instrument of the piece. Just after 4:00 minutes, the sound clears away to leave a stunning bass sequence with sporadic drum inputs before the guitar almost stealthily enters proceedings. Prior to the 6:00 minute point, the sound moves more aggressively before the piano comes in over the top and with the band now playing with such skill, the track is escorted to its completion.

This is a stunning debut release by Fren, performed by musicians who share a similar goal, that is, to aim for perfection in their music. Where Do You Want Ghosts To Reside? is an album that simply shouts out “Buy Me!”. From the simplest of passages to the multi-layered passages, this is an enthralling album to listen to. You will marvel at the points where you just about have time to think “that sounds like….” before another passage whisks you deep into the sound of Fren. This, in my opinion, is a must-have purchase in any true prog fan’s collection and will be listened to many, many times generating real musical enjoyment.

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson   ProgRockMusicTalk Staff
June 16, 2022

Tracks:
1. Twin Peaks (4:41)
2. Surge (9:43)
3. Goraca Linia (2:59)
4. Pleonasm (12:02)
5. Heavy Matter (6:23)
6. Time To Take Stones Away (8:41)

 

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