The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance

written by: August 21, 2012
Album-Art-The-Fresh-And-Onlys-Long-Slow-Dance Release Date: September 4, 2012


The Fresh & Onlys’ latest album, Long Slow Dance, can, for better or worse, be described as the soundtrack for stale relationships that trickle on for the sake of comfort.

The record offers its listeners a variety of sound-generated feelings that have been created by a group of people that have, until this release, stayed close to the familiar rock sounds that propelled them onto the Indie-music scene.

The San Francisco-based group of six’s fourth record doesn’t stray directly off the “garage-rock” path from which they started on with Grey-Eyed Girls. Instead  The Fresh and Onlys spiced up the usual by creating a noise that teeters on ’60s Doo-wop, including a Beach Boys’ surf sound on tracks like “Presence of Mind” and “Dream Girls.”

On “Dream Girls” frontman Tim Cohen gingerly spills out his feelings about deceptive ladies who come into the picture as perfect pieces of humanity, but quickly transform into everything they said they weren’t – “The perfect ones never last forever,” he preaches.

Since The Fresh & Onlys’ inception in 2008, The Fresh & Onlys have been spewing out at least an album a year.  Each of a Long Slow Dance’s predecessors can holds its own in the arena of Indie-rock, but don’t have the structure or thoughtfulness that is available on the band’s 2012 release. Although enjoyable when left as sound bites in the background, the previous records had an aggravating way of causing unnecessary anxiety – it felt as if each song blended into the last, depleting the value of the songs as individual tracks. Long Slow Dance is the digital mixed-tape that a close friend makes when a turbulent relationship needs to be explained with more than just words.

The first single off of Long Slow Dance, “Yes or No,” is catchy enough to sway and sob to while the lyrics soothe at the aches and calm the nerves from the sting of a fresh altercation about who really loves who more. The track, along with “20 Days and 20 Nights,” has a comforting Morrissey groove to it, courtesy of Cohen’s crooning vocals and guitarist Wymond Miles’s tender touch. “For 20 days and 20 nights, I’m wishing for the better times, something so heavy in my mind, I think I wanna try and get it out …” Cohen cries.

With “20 Days and 20 nights” leading off with its introduction to some sort of heart-ache, track six, “Fire Alarm,” serves as a pivot-point for the album; the bass jumps to an almost ’80s-dance beat, and Cohen manages to convey a sense of excited anticipation through his gravelly voice.  “So come on baby don’t fly before you fall, right into my arms below,” Cohen sings. It’s a get-up-and-move song from a band that generally puts out sit-in-a-haze jams.

The second-half of the band’s fourth album is less sequential than the first half. Grungy-riff-filled tracks like “Euphoria” are instantly followed by feel-good, resolution-songs like “Foolish Person.”  The ebb and flow of the last half of the less-than 40-minute album seem to propel the entire package into an early ending – they pull the plug on the emotional-music feast.

The satisfactory jumps from what’s expected to what is refreshing to provide a delightfully overwhelming blend. Long Slow Dance is laid out in such a precise way that coming back to it even when it feels like it should be over is absolutely necessary.

The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance trackist:

  1. “20 Days and 20 Nights”
  2. “Yes or No”
  3. “Long Slow Dance”
  4. “Presence of Mind”
  5. “Dream Girls”
  6. “Fire Alarm”
  7. “Executioners Song”
  8. “No Regard”
  9. “Euphoria”
  10. “Foolish Person”
  11. “Wanna Do Right By You”