Free Nationals, Free Nationals (OBE/Empire)
The Free Nationals (hitherto better known as Anderson Paak’s band) dropped a record on the same day as the aforementioned Kaytranada LP. They would have been harder pressed than Kaytra to make any real year-end noise had this album come out even at the peak of summer, where it arguably belonged, especially given that it was announced nearly two years ago. In a year that saw .Paak himself release two less- than-critically-adored (if Grammy-approved) projects nearly back to back, his homies in FN might have helped make sense of it all. Instead, their debut as a solo satellite in his orbit plays out not unlike the Roots when they back up and cover their favourite artists: fun, but hardly critical listening. There are some nice guests and moments hcere, but frankly the Free Nats probably would have had a more lasting impact releasing the best songs here as EP singles and leaving the fat on the cutting board. 6/10 Trial Track: “Cut Me a Break” ft. TI
The Free Nationals on Spotify
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About Cult MTL
Cult MTL is a daily web and monthly print publication focusing on Montreal music, arts, culture and city life. Along with interviewing local and visiting artists, promoters and entrepreneurs, we feature analysis and criticism by our editorial staff and crew of columnists and freelancers, compile comprehensive event listings, curate a daily To-Do List and run the annual Best of MTL readers poll.