Under the moniker Alex Bleeker & the Freaks, Jersey-bred songwriter Alex Bleeker has developed a solo career outside of his bass playing duties for Real Estate. Bringing together like-minded players and friends, he and his able-minded Freaks crafted two separate albums of material, a low-key self-titled release in 2009 and a more full-bodied 2013 record entitled How Far Away.
Alex Bleeker and the Freaks’ third album Country Agenda is the culmination of Bleeker’s song writing, as well as the gelling together of a fully formed band. With the full-time inclusion of guitarist Alex Steinberg, bassist Nick Lenchner, drummer Dylan Shumaker and keyboardist Jacob Wolf, along with occasional guest vocals from Mountain Man singer Molly Sarle, The Freaks’ vibe has coalesced considerably.
No longer the work of a single director, this version of the band gives the songs more room to breathe, allowing the tunes to move in unexpected directions. A wholly collaborative effort, Country Agenda features multiple songwriters and ensemble playing that stretches out in unhurried passages of glowing musical interplay. The songs wander in slow motion like a coastline drive, drawing on the same wizened energy and brilliant restraint as Crazy Horse, the Dead, Moby Grape and other like-minded cosmic travelers. Easily the most realized and best sounding set of tunes from the project, the strengths of the album are magnified by a cohesive feeling that was absent on previous Freaks records. The sound here is undeniably the birth of a solid band playing together, locked in the groove, and moving down the road in unison.