Friday, December 31, 2010

PLAY IT STRANGE - The Fresh & Onlys (2010)

San Francisco-based lo-fi garage rockers The Fresh & Onlys' third LP is notable for two things, a continuous application of spaghetti western touches to their otherwise straight-forward garage approach, giving it a fresher than average feel, and a spot-on recreation of "Nuggets" era low-end psych-rock production values (play these tracks alongside The Barbarians' Moulty or The Standells' Dirty Water and you will be hard-pressed to identify which were recorded forty-five years ago and which were recorded in 2010).

And it all starts out engagingly enough.  Summer Of Love and Waterfall are solid openers, and third track Until The End Of Time (which imports off the CD under the title of Strange Disposition) is just killer, as close to perfect a marriage of the garage and Ennio Morricone sensibilities at play here as one could imagine.

But then the vocals start sinking deeper and deeper into the mix, the songwriting and melody crafting take a turn for the worse, and the whole thing turns into a dull, chugging, hard-to-differentiate-or-care-about mush.

Closer I'm A Thief, a fifties-flavored ballad with a nice crescendo, does what it can to redeem the affair, but by then, it's definitely a case of too little too late. 

So unless your a garage rock/no fi nut, I'd go with the cherry picker selects and otherwise skip Play It Strange.

Status: Not Recommended.

Cherry Picker's Best Bets: Summer Of Love, Waterfall, Until The End Of Time (Strange Disposition), I'm A Thief.

Here's the official video for Waterfall.

Component Breakdown:
1. Summer Of Love - 7
2. Waterfall - 7
3. Until The End Of Time (Strange Disposition) - 9
4. Tropical Island Suite - 5
5. I'm All Shook Up - 5
6. Be My Hooker - 6
7. Fascinated - 6
8. Plague Of Frogs - 6
7. Who Needs A Man - 7
10. Red Light, Green Light - 6
11. I'm A Thief - 8
Intangibles - Low.

What are your thoughts on The Fresh & Onlys' Play It Strange.  Let readers know!

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