Lush pop is what The Fresh & Onlys offers its listeners. With music that is a mix of 60s and 80s pop served with a dash of country and folk. Hearing Long slow dance for the first time it reminded me of The Smiths without the jangly guitars of Johnny Marr and more importantly the look-at-me- I've- got-the-world-on-my-shoulder whine of Morrissey. Meaning, I got behind song three or four on this album. And I'm glad I did.
The Fresh & Onlys is a San Francisco band that is around since 2008. In just over four years the band has produced four albums and two EPs. That's a good output compared to non-indie bands in this day and age. The band is pushed into the label garage rock, but on Long slow dance there is not even a hint of garage, unless the band practices in one. My label guess is pop, dream pop even in the way Tim Cohen sings to us. Newer romantics with better music and no weird dressing? It sounds very much like it.
If anything Long slow dance is aimed at songs. Not just any song, the perfect pop song, with light sounding acoustic and electric guitars. In the sound spectrum they are all around. In the 'Executioner's song' at least two acoustic strummers and two electric embellishing the sound, one with a twang and one high end played notes in a very clean sound. Add some pleasant, modest horns and the atmosphere is set for a pleasant song, with intricate melody lines by the different instruments, all set to slightly morbid lyrics that takes the listener from the desert to the undertow of the ocean in two sentences; metaphors for a woman playing the executioner's drum.
The pleasure of Long slow dance lies just in this. The Fresh & Onlys seem to have a wish to play a song as delicate and refined as possible. The first and second idea are not enough. The possibilities of a song are researched in-depth and explored. Leading to intricate arrangements that are pure ear candy.
In 'Euphoria' the band lets it rip. In a The Stooges/Iggy Pop way. Tim Cohen does not sing as deep, but does his version. What makes the song stand out, is that in the back ground The Moody Blues seem to be doing their thing. Just like in that pre-sympho band's rock songs loads of violins come into the sound, giving 'Euphoria' a dreamlike quality. Another, more contemporary, band that is close to The Fresh & Onlys is The Shins. 'Foolish person' attests to that most.
Long slow dance is an album that I like more each time I play it. From o.k. it has grown into one of my personal favorites that I've listened to over the pas weeks. It is a great pop album with loads of interesting twists and bends. Like 'Foolish person' that leaves The Shins influence to totally rock out and finally moving into the garage rock realm in a superb way. The Fresh & Onlys may have mellowed down, but only to prove what superb songs the band is able to write and the diverse, melodic way in which it is able to perform them. Indie pop lovers, fans of Big Star, let's drop that name here also, be warned and check Long slow dance out.
You can order Long slow dance here