i admit i don't know much about the freelance hellraiser, other than the fact he made a name for himself doing mashup remixes. since a lot of compositional skill isn't required for such remixes, it comes a something of a surprise that 'waiting for clearance' succeeds as well as it does.
'waiting for clearance' isn't a far cry from other dj's turned composers like fatboy slim and moby. the difference comes in that the freelance hellraiser tends to lean towards heavier electronica and dance music--the stuff you'd hear on ibiza--on several of the album's tracks. case in point, the album's best instrumental, 'can't hide,' is a corker with enough energy to power-up a small town. tracks like 'want you to know' (my fave), and 'you can cry all you want' are more mid-tempo dance tracks, the former bordering on electro-balladry. 'we don't belong' and 'waves' are two more fine examples of the freelance hellraiser's skills. and if you can't get 'beautiful girl' from the 'you can cry all you want' single, you'll be glad you did.
on the downside, the freelance hellraiser recruited gary lightbody to pen the lyrics and perform vocals on at least four tracks. there's nothing wrong with the vocals, but the lyrics again prove that gary lightbody is a pretty inept lyricist. it's disappointing because he used to be so good. fortunately, gary's lyric contributions don't detract too much from the album's success. also, the album does sag a little bit in the middle, particulary the lightbody-penned 'the sweetest noise.' to me it sounds out of place, but that's probably a personal issue--and shame on him for recycling lyrics from his reindeer section days. bad form, gary.
if you love your dance music, 'waiting for clearance' will a place in your permanent rotation. it's a really promising debut sure to get your feeting tapping and your head nodding. i really dig it.