Free Range - Loft Sessions Album Review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions


Loft Sessions

Free Range

I just wanna spend some times with my friends,” Sofia Jensen sings on her latest six song EP, called Loft Sessions. It’s a good time to be alive, with all of the great artists and “new friends” that are appearing on the scene. Jensen’s Chicago acoustic indie project, Free Range, put out a successful album that channels the likes of Evan Stephens Hall and Phoebe Bridgers called Practice in February of this year. The kind of album, that soundtracks youth with candor and compassion, deep poetry and wonderfully plucked strings; songs that kindred souls are likely play on repeat, until the record develops deep grooves.

Well, Jensen and Free Range are already back, but this time with a reimagining of two songs off their previous album, a Townes Van Zandt cover, and three new songs. Recorded in Wilco’s Loft studio, (the reason for ther EP title), Jensen rides their acoustic wave of success into deeper nuance and fresher waters. The songs are close in sound to their previous album, but different enough for their fans to revel in their differences. Like the way that “Want To Know” finds Jensen singing breathier or “All My Thoughts” works with the piano as the main instrument, instead of just the guitar.

The hinge pin, I think, is their cover of Van Zandt, placing them firmly in the folk rock tradition, and showing how they maintain their own mastery over the guitar and storytelling in their artistry. It’s noted that the story of “Caroline” no longer finds her prostituting herself, but “walking down the road / with all the hate [instead of lust] inside her.” Whether it’s Van Zandt’s or Jensen’s song, it’s an empathetic story of a girl who falls on hard times, loses her father, and commits suicide. Music has the power to help us both identify and transcend the worst of conditions, and for a young person like Jensen, it shows a surprising depth of understanding of the human experience and the effect that their art can have on others.

There is also Jensen’s new single, “The Moon,” which could have easily appeared on her previous record. “Every time I turn around / something changes.” Their music, instrumentally and lyrically, is full of subtlety, and the arrangements serve to accentuate Jensen’s gentle but clever story telling. For anyone who has gotten into Free Range in the last year, this new offering is a surprising and satisfying folky treat and holds us over until something new comes from their direction.

Stream Loft Sessions HERE.

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