[26 May 2011]
Since releasing their LP Grey-Eyed Girls in 2009, the output from The Fresh & Onlys has been as impressive as it has been steady. And on Secret Walls, their latest EP, the quartet show no signs of slowing down. These five tracks offer up a generous serving of gloom and Peter Hook-like basslines, but those are about the only constants you’ll find on Secret Walls. Like Kelley Stoltz, their fellow dignitary in San Francisco’s garage rock revival, The Fresh & Onlys vary their sound just enough to keep you on your toes; here, they dropped the twang found on last year’s full-length, Play It Strange, in favor of spacious, hazy psych-pop that begs to be played with headphones on. Tighter pop singles like Play It Strange‘s standout track “Waterfall” are also nowhere to be found on Secret Walls. Instead, the band keeps it mostly loose and airy: the multiple guitar riffs that close “Wash Over Us” sound improvisational, and “Keep Telling Everyone Lies” feels like it could float away on the back of its own breathy harmonies. At 18 minutes, the whole EP floats away just as quickly. But at the rate these guys work, we won’t have to wait long for more great songs.