Alex Bleeker & the Freaks, “How Far Away”

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“Strangers on this train who can explain the way we feel/Don’t look back at me now,” pleads New Jersey native Alex Bleeker on “Don’t Look Down.” This immediate and existential sense of sheer aloneness, self-consciousness and longing (reminiscent of a Dionne Warwick tune) plagues the Real Estate bassist throughout the entirety of How Far Away, his sophomore release with a band of self-described “Freaks.” While the emotional and lyrical tone of the album follows the aftermath of a life-altering breakup and the numbness that follows such a separation, Bleeker brilliantly masks the fact that his stability has gone adrift with the perfect blend of peppy tempos, airy harmonies, dream-like slide guitar and essential Hammond organ. With the album’s short closer “Love Fadeaway,” we find Bleeker looking out onto a life on the road without the anxieties that he’s worked through within the 11-song LP. Plunging into the abyss looks good from here.

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