Album Review – Degrees of Freedom’s PERFECT WORLD

It’s always a good feeling when you do something new – visiting a city for the first time, reading a new book, watching a new movie. So I was pleasantly surprised when my copy of the recent Degrees Of Freedom album, ‘Perfect World’ hit my doormat. Some new music by a band I’d never heard before was just what I needed.

Perfect+World

The story behind the album is interesting – it’s the culmination of guitarist John Aulabaugh’s mid-life crisis, which took a Blues Brothers twist when he decided to pull his band back together after a quarter of a century. I’m not sure if a 106-mile road trip or the Illinois Law Enforcement Agency were involved, but I’m sure the sunglasses put in an appearance!

As far as line-up goes, Degrees Of Freedom are guitarist John Aulabaugh, vocalist Michael Husler, Michael Murphy on bass and drummer Tim Murphy. In addition, the album benefits from guest appearances from Lydia Salinkova on keys and strings, Ken Barnum on bass and Paul Garisto on drums.

Perfect World is an eclectic mix of tracks, ranging from the rock to the melodic, from the driving beat to the tunefully pensive. Each tune has a slightly different flavour hinting at a wide range of influences and moods. My personal favourites are Again and Again, Overwhelmed, and Howlin’ at the Moon, tracks that show the best that Degrees of Freedom offer – great musicianship, a lyric that tells a story, and a tune that sticks in your head after the album has long finished.

The remaining tracks are all very good standalone tracks, including the title track, Perfect World, deliberately written in a mix of time-signatures so that it never quite settles into a comfortable groove in your head.

These days, it’s rare that you’ll sit and listen to an album from start to finish. I’m old enough to recall a time before people simply downloaded individual tracks, and then hit the shuffle button. Gone are the days when an album took you on a journey, with all of the tracks hanging together and taking you from A to B. And there’s the only problem I have with the album. Perfect World is, to me, an example of how nine great songs don’t quite hang together as a great album when played in sequence.

Now I’m very aware that I’m being picky here, but it’s that range of influences I mentioned before that possibly contributes to this. Don’t get me wrong – this is far better than most of the stuff you hear on the radio these days, and is worthy of a place on your shelf.

As a collection, Perfect World is excellent. As an album, it’s merely very good indeed…

Track listing:

  • Again and Again
  • Indifferent
  • Howlin’ at the Moon
  • Bring Me
  • Lie to Me
  • Mexico
  • Overwhelmed
  • Hand of the Devil
  • Perfect World
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3 thoughts on “Album Review – Degrees of Freedom’s PERFECT WORLD

  1. sauntra husler says:

    hi. glad you liked the dof. my husband is the lead singer. howlin at the moon was a song he wrote about myself about when we first met. in the 80’s he was in a band called clockwork. they were together for 12 years but due to a bad manager that did them wrong they ran into road blocks. check them out on youtube. the whole concert is up but in chapters. chap. 1 the first 2 songs are covers second 2 are originals my husband wrote. i did not know him then. here is the youtube address. clockwork-2-28-88-mabel’s. let me know what you think.

    1. Thanks for the comment Sauntra. It’s cool to have the actual muse for the song commenting on it here!

      I just checked the youtube link out – and I notice from the DoF pics that he’s kept with the same hairstyle for nearly 30 years, which deserves some respect! Looks lie it was a great gig at a real nice venue, and they were seriously rocking!

      For any other visitors, the first vid can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK7IFs-COSc

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