Artist: The Fresh & Onlys
|Fresh & Onlys, Play It Strange|
Title: Play It Strange
Release date: October 12
Label: In the Red
And just like that, I find myself a little bored by the sound plied and, possibly, perfected by San Francisco's The Fresh & Onlys. It's the sound that has passed for garage rock for over a half-decade now -- one that favors country, folk, and psychedelic elements over the punk 'n' roll and trash aesthetics.
You can trace the 21st-century evolution of garage to Greg Cartwright's about-face in sound and style after his Oblivians (as essential a garage-punk band as there was in 1990s) broke up and he formed The Reigning Sound, a project that showed off Cartwright's songcraft and an understanding of American musical idioms (country and blue-eyed soul, for example) that went usually went unheard in 1990s garage rock.
Then, the Black Lips slipped some psychedelia into the mix a few years back, and here we are, entering 2011 with the standard garage rock band playing not speedy and sneering (or smirking) three-chord rock but a twangier, reverb-drenched, lysergic mid-tempo cross between The Stones (when they dabbled in country, that is) and Roky Erickson. In other words, a more true nod to Nuggets than any of the 1990s garage bands were.