Freddie Long caught the attention of the music industry in 2018 with his single Jean. In February last year he unleashed the huge track Sinner, a song that showcased his progression as an artist and his unique abilities as a musician. A handful of tracks have arrived since then, each matching the quality of the ones that came before. Following the recent release of Fade, Freddie has independently released his new EP These Darker Days today.
I don’t say this lightly but talent like Freddie’s simply doesn’t come along very often. In fact, I can pinpoint the last time I felt this excited about a British artist and it was Jamie Scott back in 2004 when he released his debut single Just. Freddie shares a lot in common with Jamie in terms of his musical ability, the skill of his songwriting and having that distinctive quality about him that just makes you want to stop what you’re doing and listen.
This four-track EP should be seen as a statement of intent from the rising artist. In a pop landscape that’s awash with bland artists making the same music, Freddie stands out because he’s doing something completely different. The grit he has in his voice, which sounds magnificent on opening track White Water, is deeply affecting and stirring. His vocal packs so much emotion that for me, the instrumentation and production come second. There’s no affected styling to his tone, it’s just from the gut and it conveys a talented young man who has experienced a lot in his life so far.
The second track, Fade, is Freddie’s most recent release and it’s a beat-driven, piano-laden track that avoids all of the trappings of chart pop and goes in a different direction. The instrumentation dramatically builds into a memorable chorus as Freddie battles with past mistakes and the weight he feels on his shoulders. The EP’s title track, These Darker Days, explores feelings of self-doubt and crippling depression but there’s an optimistic through line about perseverance. There’s a little gospel inflection in places and once again Freddie’s voice makes you feel everything he’s singing.
The final track on the EP is Facedown, a track that was recorded on Freddie’s phone as a voice memo. The lower quality of the track actually adds to its charm rather than detracts. Freddie is playing keys and his voice soars as he sings about being trapped in a toxic relationship. It goes straight for the heart and it hits… hard.
I’ve been a champion of Freddie’s for a while now and he gets better with every release. The talent he possesses is quite frankly astonishing and he has more creativity in his little finger than the majority of the ‘artists’ clogging up the charts. This is real pop music. It makes you feel, it breaks your heart and for fleeting moments, it puts a smile on your face. If there’s any justice this is a stepping stone to much bigger things and I can’t wait to see the world catch on to one of music’s best-kept secrets.
Track list: 1. White Water 2. Fade 3. These Darker Days 4. Facedown (Voice Memo) Record label: Freddie Long Release date: 26th June 2020 Buy These Darker Days