The Fresh and Onlys – Long Slow Dance – album review

The Fresh and Onlys – Long Slow Dance (Mexican Summer)
Available now

American band reach out across the ocean for inspiration but move away from garage rock to take a more mainstream sound on their fourth album. 

California’s not just sun, surfing and psychedelics. As far removed from Haight Asbury as Jerry Garcia from Grasmere, San Francisco-based outfit The Fresh & Onlys deliver bleak, gothic indie on their new album Long Slow Dance.

More Mancunian monochrome than West Coast technicolor, it’s a dark collection of weeping arpeggios and wan pianos.

Oozing Robert Smith-esque melancholia,  it’s Anglophilic post-Americana in the mould of The Shins and Fruit Bats; more British than the swathes of Brits peddling US-style proto-punk.

From bleak album opener “20 Days & 20 Nights” to the epic psych-pop of penultimate track “Foolish Person”, Long Slow Dance is a beautiful album.

Taking in Hollies-inspired pop (“Presence Of Mind”), riff-heavy indie-rock (“Dream Girls”) and sixties-style balladry (the title track), it drips with classic Britpop tones.

Laden with sounds that could have come straight from the banks of the Thames (“Executioner’s Song”) rather than the shores of the Pacific Ocean, there are even shades of UK punk at its most gothic; think The Damned in their “Eloise” phase.

Since The Beatles kicked off the British Invasion in the sixties, US bands have long looked across the Atlantic for inspiration. Eschewing the classic sounds of their own back yard, The Fresh & Onlys have created a refreshingly original sound.

UK-influenced but unmistakably American, Long Slow Dance is a transcontinental indie-rock gem.

You can order the Fresh and Onlys’ album here.

All words by Toby Rogers.

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