J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame

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  • Freeze Frame finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This is a surprisingly well produced, well recorded ablum – low-distortion, lively, solid and punchy down low – just what this music needs
  • 4 stars: “Good-time rock & roll remains at the core of the group’s music, but the sound of the record is glossier, shining with synthesizers and big pop hooks.”

This vintage EMI pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of Freeze Frame have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1981
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on Freeze Frame

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Freeze-Frame
Rage In The Cage
Centerfold
Do You Remember When
Insane, Insane Again

Side Two

Flamethrower
River Blindness
Angel In Blue
Piss On The Wall

AMG 4 Star Review

Tempering their bar band R&B with a touch of new wave pop production, the J. Geils Band finally broke through into the big leagues with Freeze Frame. Fans of the hard-driving rock of the group’s ’70s albums will find the sleek sound of Freeze Frame slightly disorienting, but the production gives the album cohesion.

Good-time rock & roll remains at the core of the group’s music, but the sound of the record is glossier, shining with synthesizers and big pop hooks. With its singalong chorus, “Centerfold” exemplifies this trend, but it’s merely the tip of the iceberg. “Freeze Frame” has a great stop-start chorus, “Flamethrower” and “Piss on the Wall” rush along on hard-boogie riffs, and “Angel in Blue” is terrific neo-doo wop. There are still a handful of throwaways, but even the filler has a stylized, synthesized flair that makes it enjoyable, and the keepers are among the band’s best.

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