18 Nov 2015

The Fresh and Onlys - Early Years Anthology

Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz

San Francisco garage rockers The Fresh and Onlys have unearthed a collection of oldies for our listening pleasure, Recording now on Castle Face, fans should know what to expect with this release. Lo-fi garage rock with trippy elements and a wall of reverb, along with well-executed and fun songs. The band refers to this as a collection of basement tapes, so let’s run with that. I have enjoyed the past few albums from these guys, but have not delved deeply into their catalogue. I suspect you can drop the needle anywhere, play spot the influence, or point to another song that resembles these early recordings. Or, like me, you could just enjoy it as a standalone release without a frame of reference.

Starting with “Tongue in Cheek” with some bottom dwelling guitar, it morphs into a cool garage riff on the bridge. And then we have the organ-driven “Don’t Look Down”, which is one of my favorites here. “Seven Directions” is joined by harmonica a few minutes in, along with some fun harmonies, and must be a treat live. “Summer Wheels” sounds like a great lost 60s tune from a Nuggets collection, while “Sunglasses” beckons us down to the beach. “I’m a Puppet” has some way cool harmonies and some trippy elements, and “Deviants Within” is even crazier, with all sorts of studio trickery and slightly creepy voices streaming through the mix. “Ooh I Got Got” actually reminds me of Spirit, mostly due to the similarity to Randy California’s playing. “Stranger In My House” is also great fun, which leads up to the final track, “Pile of Bones”. It moves a bit slower, with some hazy psych blues throughout.

Recommended for all fans of garage rock who enjoy a bit of silliness thrown in.

Available here (US) and here (UK).

Wanna hear it? You can stream the whole thing here at COS.

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