This is most certainly not the case with The Man Who Lived Underground, the third album by Freaks, London veterans Justin Harris and Luke Solomon. Thorny and alienated even as its primary goal is the shaking of thy rumparts, Underground is a rewiring of the house Frankenstein, a druggy street-level take on an unstable time that moves beyond loved-up sentimentality, full of primordial minimalism (think drum machines with Prince's paisley-funk fixations) that bashes as good as it grinds! Devoid of strings and syrupy divas, it's kinda like Blade Runner, dizzy with drama and detonation devices (including one little purple pill called "Psycho Delia" that may be the single best bad-trip house has ever recorded).
That Freaks also create songs pop fans can grab onto and call their own only speaks to how mismanaged most house assets have been since "Around the World." More specifically, "Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?", a metallic-funk charger with a dubby keyboard melody and Stella Attar's restrained take on looking for a boyfriend during some catastrophe, is the best terror-alert anthem Ashcroft never wrote. It may be understandable that no one expects social commentary from house, but, like Green Velvet, Freaks really see no reason it can't be done. It is, in fact, essential for the survival of both house and its constituency.