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Free Energy: Love Sign (Free Energy) 

The first single from Free Energy's sophomore album cracks like a big ol' whip of 1970s rock—big crunchy guitars, a magnetic oh-oh chorus and the steady 4:4 beat augmented by plenty of cowbell.

"Electric Fever" is a rock song that celebrates all those great rock songs of that Thin Lizzy-Cheap Trick era, achingly sincere in both its ambition and its reverence: "Electric fever is in my blood/ You know it's been there all my life."

The next song explains that continuing love: "Girls Want Rock." Both are well-crafted—if derivative—songs that sit in the sweet spot between power-pop and riff rock, and both will stick in listeners' heads for a good while.

Free Energy places its trust in the power of rock music, but after that energetic start, though, Love Sign is dragged down by the heard-one-heard-them-all phenomenon as well as ballads ("Dance All Night" and "True Love") that suffer from their inability to convey the same enthusiasm for the rock music the band holds dear.

"Backscratcher" and "Street Survivor" don't stray from the formula and would also make for fine singles, but Love Sign doesn't match the high of "Electric Fever" anywhere else.

Songs that pay homage to an era, a style, a feeling certainly have their place, but diminishing returns take hold of Love Sign and the band is basically spent before the album's 38 minutes run out.

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