Saturday, 15 February 2014

Review| Trey Frey - Refresh

‘Refresh’ is Trey Frey’s third full-length, and the second release overall on Thebasebit Recordings, a label co-founded by Trey himself. Trey began chip in 2010, quickly came to prominence on 8bc, released an EP, two full-lengths, and played pretty much every chip festival in the US. With a reputation that colossal, a new release after so long (over two years) is a tough project to undertake. But unsurprisingly, Trey manages it, and with confidence.

Starting with the huge ‘Airglow’, with a masterful drop acting as a literal proclamation that “Trey Is Back” before swerving into fantastic, Daft Punk-esque melodies, ‘Refresh’ is a non-stop adrenaline machine. ‘Blvck Lvng’, a track co-written with Boaconstructer, manages to mix the disparate styles of its two contributors into a thrilling, twisting brute, ditching subtlety in favour of dubstep solos and towering beats. These pieces show Trey tackling changes within the scene, and it’s something seen throughout the release. Nuanced elements of modern EDM pepper tracks, in sounds and style, but they don’t mask or overtake the truly ‘chip’ feeling of the album. It’s almost like ‘Refresh’ was written in both 2006 and 2014.

‘Daisy’ thrills in other ways, a more restrained affair. As emotive as the other tracks, it serves up reeled in, fluttering subtle pleasures over the unambiguous grandiose seen elsewhere. ‘Further’ opens with a glittering sea of scales, winding up to a forceful drop where it takes on the melodies of a 90s Eurodance banger. Also, the title track ends the album brilliantly, a sprawling piece that ditches hard-hitting club drops for funk-fests, driving percussion, ingenious sound design and euphoric melodies.

It’s genuinely hard to find flaws with a piece of work so expertly crafted, the only noticeable weak points being the standardised track outros (are fades the only way Trey knows how to end a song?) and the track ‘Phantasmagoria’, which whilst containing fantastic melodies, does lose steam mid-way. Overall though, Trey has released another brilliant album here. Not afraid to write in different genres, and succeeding on every account when he does, Trey has again placed himself firmly as a master of both composition and sound engineering. Believe the hype, Trey Is Back. 

Favourite track: Further
Grab or stream the release here.

Due to its involvement on the WeeklyTreats project, I refrained from reviewing the track 'Resolve' present on this album, to remain fair. It is, however, an absolute corker. Also, another huge thanks to Stephan Tul for proofing <3