The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance
San Francisco’s The Fresh & Onlys are old-fashioned songwriters – not only in the sense that their music evokes a panoply of traditions and styles, from fifties doo-wop to eighties indie, but in their prolificacy, releasing albums almost-annually and slotting multiple EPs between. Despite this formidable pace, their batting average on fourth full-length Long Slow Dance is astounding; from the Felt-like 20 Days and 20 Nights to end-of-night lullaby Wanna Do Right By You, all hit home.
The quartet’s second remarkable quality is that they can recall so many others (The Go-Betweens, The Beach Boys and REM all waltz into earshot) without rendering themselves redundantly over-familiar. This is, as promised upfront in the band name, a fresh sounding record, despite the obvious echoes of past practitioners. Small flourishes (like the horns of Executioner’s Song) produce significant ripples, while even at their most straightforward (such as on No Regards’ unadulterated pop), they prove utterly endearing.