Canadian psych noise band Fresh Snow deliver an imperfect but impressive first full length LP with I.
I is an album that wears its influences on its sleeves, yet has just about enough personality of its own to stand out from the crowd.
Opener “French Horse Hall Of Fame” eases us in gently with some aching and melancholic strings before bursting into a glorious cacophony of Jesus and Mary Chain feedback and driving squall. If The Horrors remixed Bowie’s “V2 Schneider”, then this would be the result. At fourteen minutes long, this is a bold and confident opener and one that sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Shame then that the next track, “Helix Pass”, brings us back down to reality compared to what has gone before with its attempt at anthemic sounding anemia. With its mariachi stomp, it feels like a Mumford and Sons b-side if they’d boshed a load of K.
Happily, we have the return to form that is “Your Thirst For Magic Has Been Quenched By Magic” (Fresh Snow certainly have a gift for song titles). A plaintive piano starts proceedings before the track builds and builds and builds, with no release from the tension. Under the noise, a groove emerges that is impossible to ignore, making this a certain live favourite and one that would not sound out of place on a Caribou record.
Unfortunately, “To A Sea” is up next, which, with its sub-par early Smashing Pumpkins feel, doesn’t really go anywhere. It is the weakest track on the album.
Thank the heavens then for “BMX Based Tactics”, a track with loads of attitude which contains a mood swinging breakdown at three minutes in, killing the noise and introducing a lightness of ambient touch. A highlight.
“Los Vientos Del Tiempo” continues in this relaxed vein and contains some lovely harp playing and vocoder vocals.
I then closes with “Saturation Complete”, which slowly comes in with a western-style guitar before returning to the familiar krautrock tone of the rest of the album, then fading out with just a guitar and computer buzz to end things on.
Fresh Snow have, with I, thrown everything into the mixing pot with mostly successful results. With a few tweaks and some quality control, the band could go far and I look forward to their future releases.