This has been a decisive year for San Franciscoʼs the Fresh & Onlys - including invitations to play All Tomorrowʼs Parties and then they joined Deerhunter for a UK tour, extensive treks throughout the US, and standout performances at the Woodsist festivals in NY and Big Sur. Keeping with their notorious urgent pace the Fresh & Onlys released a handful of exclusive 7" singles, and Captured Tracks issued the lush and anthemic August In My Mind EP. Now to cap off the year, Play It Strange arrives from the infamous In The Red Records with a tour supporting Clinic across the US to follow.
Play It Strange is the third full length album recorded in just over two years since the bandʼs inception with previous albums out on Woodsist and Castle Face. This newest album is also the first recording done outside the bandʼs own analog home studio. Hot on the heels of touring and arranging these new songs live, Play It Strange was furiously recorded and mixed in one week with Tim Green (Fucking Champs, Comets On Fire) at Louder Studios in order to better capture the muscularity and depth of the bandʼs live performances.
The Fresh & Onlys newest is a shimmering pop record full of infectious melodic hooks, led by singer Tim Cohenʼs hazy romanticism, and the incessantly propulsive rhythms of Shayde Sartin and Kyle Gibson. Play It Strange has an evocative moody swagger that jangles with 80ʼs guitar pop like the Go-Betweens, Jacobites, or early R.E.M. and a provocative rawness ala Iggy Pop or The Gun Club. The record is saturated with guitarist Wymond Milesʼ sonic textural sprawl full of desert guitar-noir phrases that call to mind Morricone/The Bad Seeds. Play It Strange is an addictive record that will establish the Fresh & Onlys as a band that effortlessly laces together threads of great guitar bands from decades past. They may not be your favorite secret to keep much longer.
The Fresh & Onlys are set apart by an endearingly fussy devotion to songcraft and an understated and unfakeable weirdness... their possibly unhealthy familiarity with garage-rock arcana is balanced out by a keen songwriter's eye, and their obsession with the past is elevated by genuine affection and love —Pitchfork
While still jangly and poppy, it's also a little gloomy, a lot new wave, with buzzy Joy Divison bass, squalls of wild psychedelic guitar, plenty of ooooh's and aaaah's, tribal drumming, angular riffing, a perfect mix of sixties jangle, and cold/new wave gloom. The production is lush, but also weird, and tripped out, ethereal and gauzy...definite contender for year ends bes—Aquarius Records