Australian artist David Bridie presents a rather dark picture of the human soul on his debut album, Act of Free Choice. Filled with some of the best melancholy this side of the Cure, if a dark trip is what you are seeking, you have found the right place.
This album plays it card right from the start with "Sad". Filled with subtle electronic sounds, this song lives up to its title and will tell you whether you will follow the album or lose interest. "Dive" then follows effortlessly. Continuing on for 11 more tracks (on m/c, 12 if in stereo) the album continues to weave its tale. The songs here work best as a collective hole. Frankly, I could not imagine any of them ever being released as a single. The closest one would probably be "The Deserters", which offers the most upbeat music on the disc and a vocal style similiar to Elton John.
The sonics here are acceptable. Nothing reference by any means. The multi-channel mix is what I would call supportive. Vocals come from the center channel so a good center is a must. A majority of the instruments come from the fronts. The rears are used primarily for the various electronic noises spread throughout the album as well as supplemental vocals (both background as well as samples (like the radio interview at the end of "Float")). It is a very effective combination that helps add to the experience without resorting to gimicks. Bass is most obvious area that needs work. It just does not have the impact of some of the better rock/pop discs. And just to show that studio execs will hold tracks from a m/c mix just the same as stereo, there are 2 remixes here that are not available in m/c. Overall, sonics would rate a 3.5.
So you have a unique SACD here. If you like the Cure during their early days, you will like this disc. But it is a love/hate only experience. My girlfriend hated this album and will not listen to it again. So listen to samples first.