Fresh & Onlys – Play It Strange

January 01, 1970

(In The Red)


If you still aren’t hip to the new school of psychedelia
happening out west in San Francisco,
you can’t blame your ignorance on The Fresh & Onlys. Since they started up,
this Northern California quartet has been campaigning for the movement all over
the map, from playing the Matt Groening-curated 2010 All Tomorrow’s Parties in
the UK to touring with Deerhunter across the United States and recording a
flurry of EPs, albums and 7-inches for just about every modern indie label
worth its weight in cool (among them: Captured Tracks, Woodsist and Castle


The attention bestowed upon these folks should not come as a
surprise once you catch wind of the band’s killer sound – a perfect storm of
Gun Club-style goth-punk twang, Seeds-esque freakbeat and Chronic Town-era R.E.M.-style jangle stuffed within the echo-laden
confines of a homegrown “Wall of Sound”. The Onlys’ second full-length, their
first for the garage-centric In The Red label, is by far their best yet. Moving
beyond the creative comforts of their tiny analog home studio in San Fran into
the more expansive digs at Tim Green’s Louder Studios, Play It Strange is an album that plays up their sensibilities as
pop songwriters more than anything they’ve done yet, evident on such infectious
numbers as “Summer of Love” and “Fascinated”. But as the nearly
eight-minute-long “Tropical Island Suite” demonstrates, they are certainly not
giving up on the fuzz bombs either. In a music landscape cramped with a baby
boom of derivative revivalist garage acts, this is undoubtedly a work aimed at
setting this immensely talented group apart from the pack.


of Love”, “Tropical
Island Suite”, “All
Shook Up”, “Fascinated”, “Plague of Frogs” RON HART

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