Iggy Pop: Free review – the Godfather of Punk gets out of the garage

At 72, Iggy can do what he likes, and this quiet, spiritual jazz-tinged album suits him

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Artist: Iggy Pop
Genre: Alternative
Label: Loma Vista/Caroline

Those expecting a rapid-fire dose of garage/rock from Iggy Pop, one of the genre's primary instigators, might be surprised (or disappointed) with his new album. Yet the quietest of his records since 1999's similarly unruffled Avenue B has a slow-burning dynamic all its own.

Forged in the aftermath of the promotional tour for 2016's Post Pop Depression (during which Iggy collaborated with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, and which he has said completely sapped his energy – "I felt like I wanted to put on shades . . . and walk away"), there is a strong no-apologies stance here.

At 72 years of age, one would imagine that Pop can do whatever he wants to, and so he does just that. Accompanied throughout by experimental guitarist Sarah Lipstate and jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas, the soundscapes here are minimalistic and yearning, exploratory and spacey.

Tapping into spiritual jazz streams (a la John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders) and aligning these with ruminative, unhurried vocals and spoken word pieces (We Are the People, and Dylan Thomas’s Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night), Free positions Pop in a frame of mind that could safely be described – perhaps atypically – as autumnal.


It suits him.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture