Peter Freebairn - Silhouettes & Cigarettes

Pop Preservation Society

Australian singer-songwriter-guitarist Peter Freebairn released his debut solo album, ‘Silhouettes & Cigarettes’ on Friday 17th May 2024. The album is Freebairn’s first full body of work since the release of his self-titled solo E.P. in 2019.

The first single lifted from the album, ‘I Got Lucky (I Got You)’, is a guitar-driven slice of infectious radio-friendly power-pop, channelling Matthew Sweet and Mike Viola (Candy Butchers). A hook-laden guitar motif drives the song, whilst a kooky theremin convincingly works its way throughout the track.

“This song came to me while I was driving on the Surf Coast heading for Torquay in Victoria, Australia on a surfing trip. I was trying to evoke the feeling of summer, sitting on a beach, turning the portable radio up loud and generally enjoying life. I think it’s a pretty cool road track too,” says Freebairn.

“I Got Lucky (I Got You) was so different to the rest of the album because it was added almost as an afterthought and was subsequently placed last on the album. I know song order doesn’t mean much to people these days but there was a lot of thought put into the order in which the album was meant to be heard,” he adds.

Silhouettes & Cigarettes’ pays testament to Freebairn’s masterful melodic songwriting, musicianship and engaging vocals.

“While making this album, I was channelling the sounds of some of my favourite artists including; The BeatlesMatthew Sweet and World PartyThe Beatles‘ ‘Revolver‘ album was a favourite. I loved the sounds of the instruments, particularly the drums and bass. Back in the day, I listened to this record constantly wearing out more than one vinyl album!”

Freebairn is a master in the studio with a strong sense of the sounds he wanted to create.

“My home studio (Valley Road Studios) helped me a lot with recording and producing the album, allowing me to take my time with the music. I would drive around listening to mixes in the car, thinking of different ideas and changes like little volume issues with guitars or drums, and in some cases going back in to re-record the entire vocal or even tweak one lyric, just to get the right emotion,” said Freebairn.

“My house was under renovation throughout the entire recording. Some may have found this an inconvenient hindrance – but I found it helped me a lot. It kept me out of the studio and allowed me time to digest the songs and ideas – even mixing with fresh ears, which is so important.”

“One of the other main things I wanted to achieve was ‘keeping it real’ – miking up real valve guitar amps with minimal guitar effects and recording, take after take until I got it right”.

“I purchased a P Bass (Fender Precision Bass) because in my experience, a P Bass always sits well in the mix and allows good separation from the other instruments. I played that bass for hours and hours just to get it as good as I possibly could” – Freebairn explains.

“I played all the instruments on the album except on “I Got Lucky, (I Got You)’, mainly through necessity. In a way playing everything allows you to channel deep into the song and keep a constant theme in reaching the end result.”

“The drums were a bridge too far for me, so I got my friend Paul Boyle to play them. Jo George contributed piano, keyboards and harmony vocals to ‘I Got Lucky (I Got You)’.” Both Boyle and George are in Freebairn’s touring band. He continues – “The drums were recorded in my studio using an old technique from early Beatles records, which requires using only two microphones which creates a vintage style sound which I love.”

The songs on ‘Silhouettes & Cigarettes‘ reflect Freebairn’s love of retro power-pop and guitar-driven rock such as the tracks, ‘I Got Lucky (I Got You)’, ‘Home Town’, ‘World You Choose’, Beatlesque ballads -‘You And I’, ‘Silhouette’ and the soulful, ‘Crazy Love’.

“Say Goodbye (Reprise) was written after recording ‘Say Goodbye’ as a way of expanding the idea of saying goodbye to loved ones that we lose forever,” says Freebairn. The song would have to be one of the album’s standout tracks and it’s about as exposed and understated as the artist gets on the record. “I’m really proud of this body of work,” adds Freebairn.

Silhouettes & Cigarettes’ was be released globally by Australian independent record label Pop Preservation Society on Friday 17th May, 2024.