(Indieville 10/13/2003) CDR label Public Eyesore is traditionally known best for their avant-garde releases, although occasionally they delve into other underground music genres. Freedom From Disguise's self-titled disc is their most recent adventure into "pop" music, an album of female-fronted Japanese DIY rock music. And like all PE releases, it's really, really good. Lead singer Tome's vocals are the most striking thing about this disc. Her punk-influenced, attitude-packed singing is a perfect choice for the album's fiery, energetic tunes. Likewise, the band's instrumental aspect is right-on. Boasting a very surf-influenced backbone (particularly in the song's throbbing bassline), it comes at you in a vicious assault of passionate axe squall. Tracks like the infectious, explosive "Midnight Walker" and the funky theme song "Stupid Game" are pure fun. As a bonus, this disc boasts a bunch of live tracks as well. All in all, this is a true artifact of underground Japanese rock. Collectors of the style of music are sure to be pleased, as are those just curious in what the genre has to offer. - Matt Shimmer
(Aiding and Abetting no. 244) You might be wondering how Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company translates in modern-day Osaka. Free From Disguise must be the answer. Made up of the members of Mady Gula Blue Heaven (I'm not making this up) and singer Akiko Otome, these folks wail their way through some of the most heavenly hardcore acid rock I've ever heard. The bizarre music is more than enough to attract my attention, but Otome's deep, rugged, bluesy voice is a revelation. She really knows how to bring down the curtain. Equally adept at shrieking and nailing a torch song right on the head, she's just about perfect. The first four tracks were recorded in the studio, and they sound great. The last five songs (including renditions of three of the studio tracks) were recorded live, and they are hit and miss--as far as sound goes. The live setting proves that these folks know how to take their psychedelic punk to the stage. Otherworldly, in a way that I never expected. My guess is that Free from Disguise inspires either devotion or disgust, with very little room in-between. The valentine written here exposes my position, one I'm happy to proclaim for all to read. - Jon Worley
(Vital Weekly no. 385) Free From Disguise, a quartet from Japan. Tome (vocals), Roco (guitar), Nagao (bass) and Noguchi (drums) open up with a jazz like guitar which reminded of certain Controlled Bleeding periods (era 'Gag'), but soon explode into psychedelic punk acid rock. Lyrics are in Japanese - at least most of the times. The first four tracks were recorded in studio and the next five are live. Especially the studio pieces are of great quality. It's maybe not my cup of tea for a daily digest, but the speed and seriousness with which this played makes these pieces into a very much enjoyable listening. However in their live setting, the songs are less stronger (this might be also because the sound quality is not overall very good) and the playing is less tight. Another thing that is really beyond my logic is the fact that three studio tracks appear also in their live version - ran out of tracks? A pity. The four studio tracks as a cdr ep would have been great too. - Frans de Waard
(Splendid Exine 11/29/2003)Osaka-based Free From Disguise specialize in heavy, guitar-based acid blues/rock. True to their roots, though, there are occasional doses of noise rock a la their countrymen, The Boredoms. This is raw stuff with a distinctly seventies feel. Female vocalist Tome has a very strong presence, sometimes recalling Jim Morrison, except, well, female. Guitar solos abound, although many songs counter these distorted outbursts with clean guitar tones on the choruses. Some of the more subdued guitar riffs have a pronounced indie rock edge, and add pleasing texture to the music ("Stupid Game" is a good example). Others, including "Midnight Walker", go for the jugular right away, firing off thick, distorted bass riffs and wah-wah-drenched guitar. Though it's ostensibly a full-length effort, Free From Disguise is actually more like an EP with bonus tracks -- three of the songs later reappear later in rehearsal versions, which aren't really distinct enough from their studio counterparts to justify inclusion. Set your expectations at EP level or you may be slightly disappointed by the sparsity of material. - Garrett Splain
(Independent Mind 01/2004) Free From Disguise are from Osaka, Japan. The first song on this disc, an up-tempo blues-rock tune with a Japanese title, absolutely slays. The remainder of the record's four studio-recorded songs are also pretty decent, garage-blues-rock, but not quite on the same level -- two standard rockers sung in broken English and a fairly dull ballad in Japanese. The three up-beat tunes are reminiscent of the soundtrack to a warped Roger Corman biker flick of the late-60's. Guitar is the featured instrument, but singer Tome's powerful, booming voice is the star of all of these songs. Her exceptional vocals stand well apart from the cutesy high-pitched monotone of a lot of Japanese female rock singers. This disc also includes five songs recorded live, including versions of three of the four studio songs. These live recordings are pretty raw, but prove that this band has the ability to get it done on stage as well as in studio. Though the rest of the disc doesn't quite stack up to it, the first song alone makes this disc well worth tracking down. - Edward McElvain
(Space Junkies 2/2004) Interesting rock n' roll from Japan. A few of the titles are in English. They play a jangly acid rock, 60's style with fuzzy guitar solos and Nancy Sinatra style attitude. I can really picture go-go dancers and bad spy movies when I listen to this. It'd probably go over pretty well in the local coffee house. - C.H.C.
(Ampersand Etcetera 7/2005) Tome has a voice which is a mixture of Shirley Bassey (History repeating) and the likes of Deborah Harry and Chrissie Hynde, but with some Japanese screaming thrown in. The three other members of the band play good rocking bass guitar and drums, to create a strong sophisticated pop-rock - Roco plays some driving and dirty guitar. The first four tracks are studio based and display Tomešs voice to the fullest, from the strong opener (which shifts from straight to excited screaming) to the ballad-like title track (vocals and track names are in English or Japanese). Then come 5 live tracks - including 3 which are versions of the studio half. The band is let down dismally by a muddy mix and recording: either submerging or distorting the vocals. Which may be what they were after, but undercuts what is the group's distinctive element and they become another musically skilful punk-rock band. Get this for the first four tracks which are tremendous, and consider the live half an interesting bonus. - Jeremy Keens