It’s a shame Iggy Pop already employed Post Pop Depression for his last album’s title, because if ever an LP demanded it, it’s his 18th, Free.

Iggy Pop Free

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It begins with a simple mantra – “I want to be free” – accompanied by ambient sounds and the kind of trumpet playing Mark Isham contributed to David Sylvian albums, and ends with another spoken word track, The Dawn, on which his sparse, creepy accompaniment can’t hide its closing words’ bleak truth: “Love and sex are gonna occur to you/ And neither one will solve the darkness”.

But it’s not all doom and gloom: he’s playful on James Bond, cracking jokes to a simple garage accompaniment – “Nuts melt in her mouth/ But not in her hand… She just likes M&M’s” – and familiarly coarse in venting frustration on Dirty Sanchez’s rumbling singalong. But Free – no surprises here – is best at its most liberated, as on Glow In The Dark, which could be Joy Division playing jazz, while Sonali, with its twitching electronic percussion and stream-of-consciousness lyrics, has something of late-Bowie about it.

His invigorated, Lee Marvin-like reading of Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, moreover, confirms his experimental, but compelling Lee-Hazlewood-does-Blackstar mood may not last long.

8/10

Wyndham Wallace

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