Admiral Freebee - you know him from the classics Rags 'n Run and Oh Darkness, and from all the times he turned you upside down live - is back; but not as we know him. On his seventh studio album, The Gardener, he presents a brand new sound in which wide-ranging keyboard parts, deep basses and exciting vocals predominate. The result of experiments with all kinds of electronics in a period when a nasty arm injury prevented him from playing guitar.
With the help of producer Jo Francken and a double (!) band line-up, an album was made that, in the course of 2020, was put on the shelf because of you-know-what. But Van Laere did not sit still during the pandemic either, and now there is The Gardener, which partly consists of those pre-corona sessions, and partly of songs recorded in the heat of the pandemic, in home isolation, while Van Laere remotely managed a small army of Belgian guest musicians. Luuk Cox received the collected digital files and signed for the mix of that new work. Still, the 15 tracks on The Gardener form a completely natural whole, enveloped in warm synth sounds, larded with some typical Van Laere guitar solos and his equally characteristic philosophical musings.
First single is the armpit-fresh, slightly reminiscent of the best Robert Palmer, Coming Of The Light, in a just world one of the first great corona pop classics. I forgot how much light existed in the world,' sings Van Laere - a searching person by nature, who, even thrown back on himself, appears to have mastered the art of relaxed yet tight swinging like no other. Use it to your advantage!
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