ALBUM REVIEW: Iggy Pop – Free (Loma Vista Recordings/Caroline International)

Iggy Pop is best known as leader of The Stooges, the proto-punks who formed in 1967 and have disbanded and reunited multiple times since.

He has an enviable back catalogue, both with the band and as a solo artist, and it’s not for nothing that he’s known as ‘the Godfather of punk’.

Now 72, his hellraising days are behind him, and you’re more likely to hear his lived-in croak as a radio DJ on 6Music.

He’s also still making interesting and diverse music, as demonstrated by his last album, 2016’s Post Pop Depression, which gave him the highest chart placings of his career.

Last year he released a well-received EP with British electro outfit Underworld, and this 18th album of his solo career sees him collaborating with two more unlikely allies, Noveller (Brooklyn-based guitarist Sarah Lipstate) and American jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas.

He’s known for his raw, primitive rock ‘n’ roll, and while Free couldn’t be any further removed from that, it is nonetheless a very enjoyable album.

Iggy Pop. Pic by Harmony Korine.

Opening track Free, which lasts less than two minutes, is short and sweet, and has almost elegiac qualities; the sort of music that you’d perhaps hope you might hear as you are shuffling off this mortal coil.

Loves Missing is perhaps the most typical Iggy Pop song on here, set against a gutsy guitar riff, but if you’re expecting more of the same you’d be disappointed.

James Bond has a delicious bassline and some squalling trumpet, while Dirty Sanchez begins with some mariachi trumpet and sees Iggy reflecting on sex, desire and how pornography seeps into society.

We Are The People sees his rich baritone voice croaking over some plaintive trumpet and sparse piano, and demands to be listened to, while Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night is almost hymn-like.

Closing track The Dawn has a brooding sombreness and a finality to it. I hope this isn’t his last album, because he’s certainly in a creative purple patch right now. 7/10.

Gary Welford owner